The Hands and Feet of Yoga – Foundations and Sensations

yoga class bending forward

When we think of yoga, the first thing that comes to mind is the whole body in posture, doing a pose. However, as a teacher, and specifically as an Iyengar Yoga teacher, we are taught to look closely at all aspects of a pose, particularly the foundation of where it begins, and even at the smaller spaces of sensitivity that can get missed by gross or overtly physical movement. For me, the hands and the feet of postures are fascinating as foundations to so many of our poses. But also, their positions and movements say so much about what else might be going on in the body, known or unknown to the practitioner.

There is a series of photos from a calendar that I framed that are only of BKS Iyengar’s hands and feet in various positions, and they are beautiful. The movement, strength, and knowledge held in those hands and feet are beyond words, and the sensitivity that lay in them also profound. Our hands and feet are responsible for so much, but how many of us truly pay attention to their connection, sensation, pressure, temperature, etc…?? They are parts of our body that contain numerous joints, muscles, nerves and sensory connections, but when do we give them the attention they require to stay supple and useful for our lifetime?

Small actions in yoga are just as important as any of the larger movements. How we place our hands and feet as the foundations of so many postures can lead to more or less balance, extension or contraction of limbs, undue strain or spread of awareness and energy throughout the body. How the feet and hands carry energy outward from the core into space can also diminish or increase alertness and consciousness throughout our postures. And, we see the power of placement in the hands in common yoga mudras of posture and pranayama.

On Wednesday mornings during the month of September, we will offer a short 4-week series focused on the hands and feet of yoga. We will explore the movements, placements, grips, and grounding of these important parts to find a more holistic and connected effect in some of our most common postures. Reviews of past foot series have been great, and the hands show up in shoulder issues too, so don’t miss out on this unique and fun exploration of some of our most important but ignored extremities.

WEDNESDAY MORNINGS 8:00-9:30am : Sept 13 – Oct 4

Both online and in person. Recordings will be provided for registrants.


Jennie Williford CIYT

Jennie Williford (CIYT Level 3) is a transplant to LaCrosse via Montana, Illinois, and originally Texas. Throughout her life moves and 5 trips to India, Jennie has acquired a well-rounded and multi-faceted approach to Iyengar Yoga since her start in 1998. Jennie loves the experimental and explorative nature of yoga in accessing deeper knowledge of the Self on every level. The practice of yoga can be intense and introspective, however as practitioners we can be light-hearted and open-minded in our discipline. Jennie is intrigued by the philosophy of yoga and hopes to share this depth of subject while teaching the physical and mental benefits that come from the practice of posture.