Today we have a guest blogger, Deb Arthur, whom we briefly introduced to you in a previous post. This is taken from her website mindfulmobilitycoach.com
“Our feet are so mistreated and misunderstood. We shove them into shoes and hide them. Sometimes we just don’t like our feet. Maybe we believe that they smell or that they are unattractive. Years ago, I attended a week long bodywork workshop. On one of the first days, we were asked to sit down on the floor, take off our shoes and socks, and massage our feet. I felt quite uncomfortable about this exercise. But I did what I was told and it was an eye opening and perspective altering experience. It allowed me to connect with my feet and experience them as an important part of my body. It brought my awareness to a part of my body that I had ignored and basically forgotten. It is a practice that I encourage clients to do regularly, particularly if they are having foot discomfort or need to improve their balance and/or walking pattern.
Full body movement generally begins from the feet. In walking, how we place each foot onto the ground helps to emphasize or deemphasize how we use the muscles of the legs and pelvis through the walking stride. Although walking and balance are not only about the feet, the feet are an important starting point for understanding how to improve our movement patterns.
Here is a simple exercise that I teach people in order to get them to sense their feet and create greater awareness and a sense of grounding to the floor.
First, just do a short walk down your hallway or across the room, noticing and sensing your feet. Then stop and hold onto the wall or something solid. You can keep eyes open or closed (or downcast) and shoes on or off. The movements include 10 of each (done slowly and with focus on the movement and sensing the shifting weight): Shift weight into the balls of the feet (heel raises), shift weight into the heels (toe raises), shift the weight into the outside of one foot/inside of other and then reverse (so side to side), and finish with circles (so ball of foot, inside/outside, heel, outside/inside – in one direction for 10 and then reverse direction for 10).
Then, go for another short walk, noticing and sensing your feet. Do you notice any difference in how you are walking and/or where your sensing awareness is?
This is an exercise that you can do every day, along with massaging your feet, to create greater awareness and connection with your incredible and very beautiful feet.
Jan Phillips writes, in her book “Divining the Body”: “Our feet are our connection to Mother Earth. They ground us, balance us, take us wherever we choose on our journey to wholeness. They are part of our sacred garment of flesh that allows us to move toward others in communion, toward nature in a quest for quiet, to other lands and cultures for adventure and learning.”