How often during the day to we give gratitude for our hands and feet? I would not be typing this article, were it not for the mobility and flexibility of my hands. I would not be practicing yoga, walking, standing or dancing daily without the use of my fabulous two feet!
Ancient yogis were aware of the subtle energies or prana flowing through the body. Without the distractions of technology and industrialization, their lives were simple, and their daily routines involved self-body massage, yogic cleansing practices, and breathing techniques (pranayama), combined with yoga and meditation practice. In our busy culture, most of us barely have time for a few minutes of stretching or breathing in the morning, let alone hours of body and mind balancing exercises!
– Care for your Hands and Feet –
Today, Reflexology is a practice that is used to boost the immune system and bring the body back into balance. People who go to Reflexologists receive a full hour or half hour treatment on just their hands and feet. The hands and feet are said to be small maps of the entire body. Therefore, receiving a Reflexology session can be like receiving a full body massage…with slightly different effects. The science of Reflexology targets the reflexes instead of working directly on the corresponding body part. Through this, you are stimulating the body from within, whereas massage soothes the muscles from without. By stimulating the reflex of a troubled area, the body promotes healing in that area.
– Combining Yoga and Reflexology –
One of my very 1st experiences with Reflexology was when I first began to study yoga. I would do daily practices in Deepak Chopra’s book, Perfect Health, where he instructed self-body massage, like the ancient yogis practiced. Part of this self-massage was foot and hand massage. I remember enjoying the sensation of massaging my own feet, wondering why I’d never attempted it before? Just the foot and hand massage alone helped deepen my own yoga practice—letting me feel my two feet more firmly planted on the ground, and my two hands as well.
– Benefits –
Both Yoga and Reflexology are Holistic, working on integrating and restoring balance to the body, mind, and spirit. Yoga balances the body and mind by stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system, allowing you to come out of stress mode and into a state of relaxation and rejuvenation.
Reflexology boosts the immune system and alleviates chronic body conditions, such as:
• Sinus /Allergies
• Thyroid issues
• Body Pain / Back Pain
• Anxiety / Depression
• Frequent Headaches
• Loss of Appetite
• Tiredness / Loss of Energy
• Tension / Stress
• Shoulder Pain
• Swelling of legs / Varicose veins
• Urinary Problems
• Cervical Pain
• Numbness of hands and fingers
• Mental and Emotional Disorders
A yoga class that combines some basic Reflexology techniques will allow you to really tune into your body in a deeper way and release some deep held tension or chronic issues.
Sarah Lamb, RYT and Reiki master teaches yoga at CNY Healing Arts Center in Rochester.