Let's talk about your foundation.
The feet alone contain about 25% of the body's bones. This fact alone highlights their huge potential for mobility & dynamic stability. They're built for a huge variety of possible configurations, many of which we lose control over through prolonged exposure to flat floors & shoes.
In addition they transmit force along our vertical axis, and without a strong connection to the ground we lose our verticality. Simply put: the feet govern our relationship to gravity. This is true whether we're going for a record deadlift or our "tree pose" in asana practice.
If they don't show up, neither do we.
This often manifests as preventable knee or low back injuries, joint complexes that have to carry an undue burden of mobility when the feet can't pick up the slack. If we want to avoid injury in our own practice and in those we work with, we have to ensure we're building on a strong foundation.
So how can we flip the switch on foot function?
I want to introduce a three-pronged approach that:
- Improves sensory information going to the central nervous system
- Fine tunes motor control from the central nervous system to the feet
- Enhances our internal awareness of weight-bearing for better alignment & coordination
Put these together, and we find a simple method to help us not only play nicely with physics & gravity, but also increase our subjective feel of our movements. If it feels good, and it works better, count me in. Here's how it's done:
What's Going On Here?
We're rebuilding our foundation from the ground up. This has a couple of big ramifications:
Improving dynamic function of the feet allows them to handle a broader range of possible demands. They're better equipped to deal with perturbations to normal conditions, and they can roll with the punches more effectively. This allows them to manage demands for range of motion that otherwise may have shifted to the more vulnerable knees or low back.
In addition we improve our biomechanical efficiency, which allows us to protect the joints from unnecessary stresses, to improve force production, and to improve stability in vertical.
When we improve the function of the feet, we shift our entire relationship to gravity. We find more ease in our own bodies and can start to literally "stand our ground". This enhanced connection to the ground can give us a sense of rootedness, a source of strength far beyond what we're capable of on our own. After all strength doesn't exist in a vacuum.
Your feet really are your foundation. But reading about it only takes us so far. Give this approach a try for yourself. Do you notice any shifts?