Your Amazing Feet – The Foundation
We should respect our feet more than we do.
It’s so easy to slap them onto the ground step-after-step without any consideration. Without these structural marvels, we couldn’t stand up or walk. When standing, the feet are our only contact with the earth. Every gravitational imbalance in our whole body is compensated by the feet. What a huge job! Yet we wonder why the feet hurt, and we’re tired at the end of a day.
To start, what is the design function of a foot? The foot is designed to distribute the body’s weight to the ground. To do that, bones in the foot must move. And that can only happen when we are aware of them.
There are several options when feet hurt. Arch supports, proper-fitting shoes, shoe cushions and natural movement corrections have application. They all have positive value. Those options work better with movement awareness and knowledge.
To begin, what is a mindset of support for the feet? This is a visualization that your feet move like hands. Note that feet are structurally similar to hands (10 toes versus 10 fingers; tarsal bones versus carpal bones; a wrist versus an ankle). So, it isn’t a big leap of faith. The hands are capable of refined movements, such as threading a needle. In your mind, transfer some of that refined movement to the feet. Pretend that your breath extends down to the feet.
How does movement awareness feel like as you walk?
As you put weight onto the landing foot, feel the zone immediately under the ankle contacting the ground. Let the weight drop through the whole ankle - not just one side. The second-biggest toe points straight ahead. Then feel the weight move forward through the arches. Those arches act as springs. (Knees appreciate that.) Fully engaged, your foot placement becomes silent. People may be unaware that you entered the room. Feel the ground below. Your toes act like feeler gauges that work better when relaxed.
That same foot now pushes off the ground as your walk continues. Weight is being transferred to the other foot. Notice how the foot (now behind you) bends horizontally behind the ball of the foot. Feel that bend across the whole foot.
Calf muscles move the foot bones. So, send some awareness to the calves also. They should be strong when in use, and relaxed when not.
You will soon notice that your feet and calves don’t hurt (or don’t hurt as much). You feel less tired. Blood circulates freely in the flexible foot. Muscles are oxygenated.
Foot balance is more than physical. It interacts with the mind. For example, leaning forward over the feet might implant a sense of insecurity, like being on edge. There’s a sense of not being supported. In contrast, when feet are balanced on the ground, the condition is set for a stable mind. The whole body feels supported. This person stands with a sense of confidence.
Enjoy the freedom and independence of engaged feet.