Feet: The foundation of your practice
You wake up in the morning and your feet hit the floor. You may or may not put slippers, flip flops or some other type of footwear on, and most likely you simply get on with your day. Very rarely do we think about our feet, unless of course they are causing us pain, discomfort or inconvenience in some way. We stuff our toes into shoes, offset our balance through heels and in that rare occurrence we may go barefoot in the grass.
Why bother paying attention to the feet? Feet support the rest of our body. They are shaped like a triangle one of the strongest known shapes and with more than 20 bones, joints, muscles and a variety of tendons and ligaments our feet deserve extra attention as we journey through our life and our practice. As we stand and move through space our feet help us to connect with the earth, sensing the slight pull of gravity and helping us to trust each step we take.
The feet dictate the rest of the body alignment, "your legs mirror everything you do with your feet. The position of your feet and the distribution of weight through them will affect the position, function, and flow of force higher up through your knees, hips and even your back”. Yoga Mind, body and Spirit by Donna Fahri.
Think about this for a moment, if you are toe clenching then the rest of the body will be restricted. The feet are under constant stress as they are consistently sending information to the brain about what is going on at a foundational level. Our feet offer a complete acknowledgement of how we are holding ourselves in space and in the world. To be balanced, to have our weight and energy evenly distributed we need to be aware of our contact with the ground creating our sense of grounding. Our feet navigate the weight from our whole body as it moves through the world, shifting and changing, reflecting the need as we run, walk, bend, stand on one foot or squat.
Look down at your feet from time to time today. How are they positioned? Are you toe clenching? Where is your weight? Are your feet pointing the same direction? This easy check-in will help you gain a more complete awareness of your “standing in life”. Give your feet a little love and attention during your practice as well as throughout the day to re-establish your grounding, alignment and balance and to feel more rooted and resilient!
Check out how our language reflects our relationship with our feet...
Changes are afoot
Sometimes you have to put your foot down
Put one foot in front of the other
He lost his footing
Quit dragging your feet,
She has the world at her feet
Take a load off your feet
He got cold feet
Get your feet wet
One foot in the grave