Fourth Toe Blues
By Laura Mills
Since I started practicing yoga I’ve developed a keen appreciation for parts of me that I never thought much about before: the muscles between my ribs, for example, and the joint between my palm and first finger. Recently, I discovered the importance of the fourth toe on my right foot.
It happened when I opened a heavy door into my foot. Since I was barefoot, and with the way I was standing at the time, the door scraped the top of that particular toe. It wasn’t a huge injury; a few extra minutes and paper towels later, I thought the ordeal over. But I attended a yoga class the next day, and I winced the first time I breathed forward from Downward Dog into Plank. Other than not clenching my toes, I’ve never thought much about them during a yoga practice…but that day I started. In fact, I thought about my fourth toe every Plank, every Upward Dog-into-Downward Dog, pretty much throughout every Vinyasa. And I thought about it every time I stepped my right foot back to a lunge. And of course, I thought about it as it throbbed all during Savasana, too.
We talk a lot in yoga about honoring ourselves and awakening the divine within. Sometimes I have a hard time seeing anything about myself as divine, but on this occasion, my toe reminded me not to forget it.