The Question: How do I ease back into yoga after healing from a broken toe? ~April
Hey April! A broken anything sucks, but you have to treat them all with the same things: care, intention, and patience.
Especially if your toe still hurts while you stand, you may need to stay away from standing postures, but that doesn’t mean you have to avoid practicing. In fact, this may actually help to advance your practice even more. Learning what hurts, what feels great, and when you need to cool it down, are extremely important lessons that everyone needs to know – whether they have broken toes or not.
While you’re standing (whether you’re in yoga or not), play around with balance. Build some stronger awareness of your feet by exploring what happens when you bring weight to your toes, or to your heels, or to the sides of your feet. Try lifting one foot off the floor, then the other. Press all four corners of the feet down into the floor.
Once you have an idea of how you generally stand and what feels comfortable, play around with articulating your toes. This is most important for you, April. Work on spreading them far away from one another — hey, those toes were put there for something, so let’s use them! Regaining the ability to use your toes (instead of just cramming them into shoes) is a great exercise to do.
If your toe no longer is in pain, it’s so important to focus on making your feet “happy.” (This actually goes for people with healthy feet as well!). Think about how much you’re on your feet — these things provide a lot of service to the rest of our bodies, rooting us to the earth while literally taking us places, so it’s important to treat them with some love. When you’re in your yoga classes, pay attention to how your feet feel, when they’re activated, etc., even when you’re not in standing poses.