I had been meditating on this babe-a-licious hottie in my yoga class for months when, finally, one day his mat appeared in the spot next to mine. Admittedly, it was not my most focused practice, as I lasciviously fantasized about licking the sweat dripping off his tattoos and grasped for any opportunity to “accidentally” graze his long lean body with my flying limbs. But when it finally came time for our single pigeons to become one, I was suddenly besieged with a rush of anticipation and fear. The bottoms of our feet were about to face each other with naked intimacy. The moment of truth was before us – would his feet be hairy? Peely? Calloused? Bunioned? Dirty? Smelly? Yikes! Funky feet are N-O-T sexy.
In all of my blabbing about yoga, the most common gripes I hear involve squeamishness about feet – self consciousness about our own, coupled by nausea over others’. I heard about the fantastic instructor, whose massive planter’s wart makes enjoying his otherwise amazing adjustments impossible; the girlfriend who is so freaked out about feet that she won’t come within 108 yards of the yoga studio; and the strange bacteria that appeared on one yogini’s left pinky toe after showering at her allegedly “upscale” studio.
Yoga teaches us about self-love and acceptance of each other’s imperfections and flaws with equanimity. But somehow, our poor feet work so hard and they just get no respect! Without their support, it would be nearly impossible to practice yoga, so let’s put one foot in front of the other and march together down the sevenfold path of yoga foot care.
Step One: Pumice Stone. A daily all-over foot scrub with soap works miracles in preventing callouses, athlete’s foot and general peely-ness.
Step Two: Shower Shoes. I’m sorry to report that many yoga studios and spas are hygienically challenged when it comes to cleaning their showers, floors and steam rooms. If you plan to walk barefoot in any of these public spaces, bring your thongs.
Step Three: Pedicure. At home or in the salon, regular pedicures are a must for yogis and yoginis alike. Includes soaking, scrubbing, scraping, nail and cuticle trimming, massaging, and for optional girly fun, colorful dÃ©cor with polish, decals and rhinestones.
Step Four: Foot Wipes. Before class, give a little once-over with a handy-wipe or moist paper towel, especially if you’ve been strolling the streets in flip flops, or wearing UGGs without socks (a breeding ground for smelly fungus feet, not to mention an outdated fashion fad).
Step Five: Moisturize. Lots of yummy creams will help keep your feet smooth and soft. Apply nightly before bed (cover with socks if that doesn’t give you the creeps).
Step Six: Pod-check. If you discover any out of the ordinary growths or discoloration, check with your podiatrist or alternative medicine service provider to get the necessary treatment to zap it out.
Step Seven: Run for Cover. Germophobes and those with shy feet can check out some of the yoga shoes and socks currently on the market. Most have rubber soles for traction that will keep you from slipping and falling on your ass-ana.
Give your peds the love and attention they deserve, for your own sake, and for your neighbors who will appreciate the more pleasant view. You’ll be happy you did – especially if you want to play footsie with your solemate one mat over!
Om Shanti & Infinite gratitude,