Monday, November 18, 2013

Can you get better abs by going barefoot? Yes.......

It may seem silly to believe that going barefoot can build better abs, but it certainly is possible. Today we look at an ancient exercise that helps build the body from the feet up.

Besides our backs, the feet are the most neglected part of our body in our culture. We also neglect to realize what we can do to make our whole physical health better when we focus on the feet first. After all, in our culture, going "feet first" is a synonym for being dead. It's time to take off our shoes and to wake up and live. What you are about to learn is a first step in building a better body from the feet up. And yes, ultimately, being barefoot can build better abs.

Connect to a Yoga mat. Yoga s one of the oldest surviving athletic activities that is practiced barefoot. True Yoga practice becomes much like practicing a martial art. We use ancient Yogic exercises called Bandhas, or “locks” to release internal stress from the body and allow the muscles to function normally again. To get better abs from being barefoot, you have to do some Yoga. 

In the cultures of India and the Far East where Yoga originated, the feet are not regarded as a “lowly” part of a person. In the ancient Yogic traditions, people actually touch the feet of their gurus, and sometimes even kiss them, as a sign of reverence. The leading Yoga magazine Yoga Journal calls the feet the foundation of the body as a temple, as well as the body’s physical foundation. All cultural ideas aside, the feet are indeed the foundation of the body.

Using the Pada Bandha. Pada Bandha means “foot lock” in the Sanskrit language. The Pada Bandha is applied to raise the arch in the sole of the foot while standing. This triggers the leg muscles to tighten gently on the leg bones. The trigger from the arch send the same signal through the pelvis and into the muscle groups that create the “pelvic floor”. They muscle groups support the weight of the abdomen and keep the pelvis from moving too far.

YogaFit Trainer Brett Barnes incorporates the Pada Bandha into the fundamentals of the YogaFit Anatomy classes where he has been training Yoga instructors for many years. He instructs his students to engage to foot lock and subsequently the root lock, or Mula Bandha. 

Yoga Instructor Lauren Imparato
Brett Barnes
YogaFit Trainer Brett Barnes   
As Lauren Imparato explains on MindBody Green: “In Sanskrit mula means root, and thus Mula Bandha is the root lock. To find it, sit, stand, or even be in an asana, and if you are a man, contract the area between the anus and the testes. If you are a woman, contract the muscles at the bottom of the pelvic floor, behind the cervix. Initially the anal sphincter will also contract, but with time and practice you will be able to hone in on the Mula Bandha region and leave the rest aside.”

The four groups of abdominal muscles are triggered by the same signal from the feet, and they begin to tighten so that the chest lifts and lets the abs work while they remain long-that means you develop them evenly and don’t strain the back. The final phase of the exercise is to engage the Mula Banda, to lock the muscles in the lower, internal abdomen and slightly lift the digestive tract. When the lock is released, the digestive tract relaxes and distress is removed from the interior and the entire body’s stress level is reduced to improve calmness and concentration ability.

So, not only can being barefoot get you better abs, it will make you feel better all over. Using the Bandhas restores the natural length of the abs in the process, so you can develop all of each muscle instead of developing smaller areas that will make your strength, your balance uneven, along with your ultimate well being.
Author and YogaFit Instructor Vincent Gerbino

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