But not in high heels.
There are a few basic positions we find our bodies in as we go about our day. We stand, we sit and we lie down. Moving between them, we bend at the knee and we hinge at the hips. At times throughout the day, we twist to put on a coat or even the seat belt in a car. Seldom do we need to back band or invert ourselves. But, we’re constantly balancing, whether we realise it or not, it’s obvious standing on a train or sporting your best high heels. But of course, walking is the most common example.
Of all the positions we find the body in, standing is the one which we find ourselves in most frequently and is the one in which we are most actively engaged. In a yoga class, you’ll notice that standing postures are the strongest and normally the peak of your intensity. And, the position and the strength of the feet are elementally important to all standing poses. The truth is, we’re only as strong as our weakest link. If our feet are not grounded and stable, we can’t expect our bodies to be. The truth is, our feet are the mirror to our bodies. So, how do you begin to look through this mirror to see who is really there? I’m glad you asked; I’ll let the yoga nerd in me take it from here.
From where your thumb is, follow a straight line down your leg from the front of the hip socket, through your knee and your ankle to your second toe – the one beside your big toe. Position your feet as you follow the line straight down.
This is the natural alignment of your hip to your feet and the width your feet need to be, to be in alignment with your hip sockets. Checking your feet are straight, standing upright with your arms down by the side of your body.
Lift up all your toes, feel your weight sway back into your heels. Keeping your toes off the floor gently sway your weight forward and watch the weight of the body spread out to the pads of your feet. Begin to even the weight distribution between the heels and pads.
Place the length of the big toes on the floor and feel the main arch of your foot lift. Then spread the weight across the pads of your feet, while placing the length of all your toes on the floor.
You’ll feel the second arch of your foot activate in the pads of your feet. Now slightly take both heels out a centimetre or so. You’ll feel the outside of the foot activate as the outer arch of the foot activates.
Standing upright, focus on your sense of balance and even out your weight so that it is evenly distributed between the four corners of your feet – the inner and outer heel as well as the big and little toe.
You will feel your feet truly planted and rooting into the earth. This is the baseline experience for every standing posture. It becomes second nature as you practice the steps. When you resist into the floor through your feet, you are activating yield, commonly known as ‘root and rise’. When you’re yielding, the natural tone activates upwards through the body. It’s here you’ll find your real power to step into in every moment, if you so choose.
There may be adjustments needed in your ankles and knees to support your alignment but we’ll discuss this in a later blog.
Each pose, with their differing positions for the feet, challenges the foots ability to connect the four corners and bring the power of the root and rise. Therein lies the fun in yoga practice.
And beyond the mat, the journey continues. Walk in your personal power in every moment of your life. Know your ground within. Bring it into every room. Engage with every person from this place. Bringing your ground to every life event is the baseline for living your true path. Get practising today and plant your foot for life!