Some people love their feet, some people hate their feet while others are indifferent, they don’t really think about their feet at all. Have you even looked at your toes today? When was the last time you looked at your soles? When did you last walk outside in bare feet, discovering daisies feet first? Our feet are quite literally our foundation and yet most of us are so much in our heads that our feet are forgotten once summer is done and we pack them away until next spring when we pumice the life out of them and then hide them away anyway because our toes are too wonky or we’ve had a corn for so long it looks like we’ve got a permanent bit of gum stuck to our foot.
So, go see a Podiatrist, get rid of the corn, accept what you cannot change and show your feet the appreciation and respect they deserve. Feet are awesome, your feet are awesome, my feet are awesome. They bear our weight and propel us along with their arches and phalanges and cuneiforms (rhymes with unicorns, how cool is that!). Okay, I’m getting a bit carried away now but you get my point right?
I’ve learnt a lot about feet recently. I am astounded how quickly children’s feet grow. I never realised that they don’t really stop growing until around the age of 18 and I took it for granted how lucky I was to still fit in my shoes after two pregnancies. But what really interests me about feet is how they can completely change the way you stand, the way you sit and the way you walk. I am fascinated by how different a yoga pose can feel just by changing the position of the foot or grounding down or shifting your weight onto a different part of the foot.
Try it. However you are sitting or standing now. Get out of your head and into your feet. Now, however you were standing or sitting, place both feet on the floor. Notice how your whole body shifts. Notice which part of your foot you’re naturally rolling your weight onto. Now, without changing the position of your feet, shift your weight and ground down across the broadest part of the feet (base of big toe to base of little toe) and down through the centre of the heels. Notice how your whole body shifts, ankles, knees, hips, pelvis, spine, shoulders. Breathe in, and as you breathe out imagine little roots growing down into the earth from these three points on your foot. Notice how your mind begins to shift. You are physically and mentally grounded. Aligned in your body through your soles.
Feel the difference, when you’re standing in Mountain Pose. Shift your weight around your feet. How do your knees, hips, pelvis feel when your toes are turned out, when your toes are turned in, when your feet are together or when they’re hip distance apart? How does it feel throughout your whole body when your toes are facing forward, you’re broadening through the front of the foot and grounding down across the base of your toes and through the centre of your heels?
Feel the difference in a lunge or triangle pose. Shift your front knee to the left or the right or past the tips of your toes. How do your hips and your pelvis feel in a lunge when you roll onto the outside or the inside of the top of your back foot? Now how does it feel when you line your front knee up with your foot and pull it back in line with your heel? What happens to your pelvis and your hips and indeed the whole lunge when you bring the back heel and toes in line with the back knee?
Think about them, the next time you do yoga, even if you’re upside down, think about your feet. Make it the first thing you do when you move into a pose or when you get out of bed in the morning. Think about the position of your feet, think about where your weight is grounding down through your feet, use them as alignment markers and feel the difference. Get out of your head and into your feet. Find your foundation and begin your journey.