Treat Your Feet to a Day of Freedom & Functional Rehabilitation
This full day event is specifically designed to introduce and explore the complimentary practices of barefoot running and yoga. Alternating between our purpose-built yoga studio and Exeter’s beautiful Quayside, this is a unique opportunity to treat your feet to freedom and functional rehabilitation.
After a short introduction to barefoot running theory and methodology, we will head down to Exeter’s Historical Quay (a short 5 min walk) to practice running short distances (no more than 1.5k) on hard surfaces (ideally with minimalist barefoot shoes) followed by completely barefoot running practices on grass! Back in the studio after lunch we will get on our mat and play. By exploring the process of rewilding your feet we will use complimentary yoga practices to target recovery and reinforce the benefits of your barefoot training.
Why Barefoot Running?
Barefoot running is in our DNA.
Data collected by your feet, through their relationship with the ground, is the platform on which the rest of your body relies. Humans didn’t start trotting around this planet with pillowy cushioning and arch supports beneath their feet. It was just skin to ground for many millennia. Keeping your feet imprisoned in overly-supportive and restrictive footwear is an act of profound cruelty to your feet. Running (or walking) in cushioned, overly-supportive shoes is akin to having your leg in a cast for a month (or a decade!) — when you then take the cast off, your leg muscles are weak, unresponsive, and require physical rehabilitation to function properly.
Running trainers also have a raised heel, which encourages you to ‘heel strike’ in your running stride – pounding your feet and causing problems with your knees, hips and joints. By comparison, ‘barefoot’ running strides are usually shorter and more compact, touching down more directly beneath your torso. That gait better aligns with your body’s center of gravity and usually leads to an increased bend in the knee, allowing your joints to better absorb the pounding. Runners who go ‘barefoot’ also tend to land more on the ball of their foot than the heel, which adds efficiency of movement and uses the foot, ankle and lower leg as virtual shock absorbers. Overall, it’s a more natural running pattern that reduces loading to your joints and encourages proprioception.
Barefoot vs. Barefoot Shoes
It might seem weird to talk about ‘barefoot running shoes’, but it actually makes perfect sense.
Although the human foot is a marvel of evolutionary engineering it has one serious design flaw: a lack of protection from the environment. All other running specialist animals have evolved hooves or pads to protect themselves, but our feet, originally designed to grasp and climb, are instead covered in proprioceptors, sweat glands and soft skin!
It is therefore smart to take take the middle path to barefoot running and not to just start running in completely bare feet straight away. Minimalist-style barefoot shoes allow the foot to behave exactly as it would if bare, while also providing maximum protection from the environment. Barefoot shoes have a zero rise heel, a wide toe box and minimal cushioning and support for your feet. This allows them to rediscover and relearn their natural proprioceptive state.
In order for you to get the most out of the day we recommend you invest in a pair of minimalist barefoot running shoes.
The key features of this type of footwear are:
- minimal cushioning and ankle support
- a wide toe box
- zero heel drop
I have personally owned, run in and can recommend Vivo Barefoot, Vibram FiveFingers, Merrel Vapor Glove & New Balance Minimus Trail. As an alternative to investing in new footwear you can choose to run completely barefoot, although this would be pretty brave!
Please Note: Running trainers that have a) a cushioned sole, and b) a raised heel, can be worn, but they will not enable you to develop the correct barefoot technique and are therefore are not ideal footwear.
You will also need:
- a yoga mat
- both yoga clothes and running kit
- a water bottle
- a sweat towel
All yoga props and additional studio equipment will be provided.
Exeter Yoga Workshop
King St Business Centre, 7-9 King St, Exeter, EX1 1BQ
Early Bird Discount £70
[11:00 – 12:30] – Introduction, Theory & Methodology
[12:30 – 14:00] – Barefoot Running Practice
[14:00 – 15:00] – Lunch Break
[15:00 – 17:30] – Yoga for Runners
Some experience of both running and yoga is ideal, however beginners are welcome.