If you're like me, the thought of yoga probably puts a knot in your stomach as it requires going barefoot in front of fellow practitioners, some of whom happen to be very fine-looking men. A friend has been pestering me to attend a session with her lately, so I decided to look into whether the mind-body practice could actually help my bunions.
I came across an article in Yoga Journal about the feet and their connection to the rest of the body, and how yoga may be able to treat painful foot conditions.
According to the magazine, simply bringing consciousness to where you place your weight when you stand may be a revelation. If you notice a lot of pressure on the inner edges of your feet, this may be a sign of biomechanical imbalances that may lead to bunions.
Correcting foot problems through yoga may benefit the body as a whole, the journal reported.
"When you treat foot problems with yoga, you end up treating back pain, hip pain, all kinds of structural problems. Not only does it stretch out the muscles and lead to a greater range of motion, but it helps heal the root issue of inflammation as well," said holistic podiatrist Robert Kornfeld, quoted by the magazine.
I also found a Washington Post article in which the writer interviewed Timothy McCall, M.D., the author of Yoga as Medicine. The physician said that certain yoga poses provide a good stretch of the toes and metatarsal bones, which may help slow the progression of a bunion.
He described a pose wherein you stand with your feet a few inches apart then bring the bunioned foot forward about half a foot before turning it slightly inward. With the ball of the foot rooted on the ground, lift your heel slightly and rotate it inward before stepping down. This exercise may help keep bunions from progressing, but it probably won't cure the foot condition.
"If you have a bunion and you do yoga almost every day for the next several years, you will certainly feel better. But I don't think your bunion will be fixed," said McCall, quoted by the news source.
There you have it. I think I'll stick with my yoga practice, and not just because of the sculpted male yogis, but because it's good for my mind, body and feet. However, I won't be giving up my bunion splints or orthotics any time soon.