Now that the weather is warmer (most of the time), we have the opportunity to take our feet out of hibernation. During the colder seasons, our feet are often stuffed into thick socks and heavy footwear. While this makes it safe to walk around on slippery streets, it messes with our foot mechanics and our gait â€“ or how we walk.
These days I am watching my brotherâ€™s triplets learn how to walk. Whenever I am with them, I make sure their feet are bare and I also reposition their feet so that they are under their hips and pointing forward. What is so fascinating about this process is that I can see some habits forming in these little ones already. For example, Mr. Drew like to pull his shoulders up instead of powering through his core. Imagine what a life-time of that postural habit will do?
You are I are no different. We have a lifetime of habits that have contributed to our current posture. I have been very aware of this as I work through my back injury and notice the growth of bunions on my feet. Le sigh â€¦. time to get moving well!!!
I celebrated a milestone birthday at the beginning of June and there is an insurance company out there that says I should be experiencing freedom now. What does freedom look like? To me, it is the freedom is to live comfortably in a body that moves well and feels good. The first step â€“ if you will excuse this somewhat deliberate pun â€“ is to look at how I use my feet, so that everything stacked above them is lined up well.
Try these ideas at home to help you put your best foot forward (Sorry, I just canâ€™t help myself. It runs in my family. Oops, I did it again!).
Tip 1: Foot Rolling
Use a lacrosse ball, tennis ball or your dogâ€™s toy. Roll it under one foot for about 30 seconds. Put a little pressure on the ball when you find tight spots. Repeat to the second side. Do this by a wall or counter if you find it hard to maintain your balance.
Tip 2: Calf Stretches
Use a rolled up blanket, yoga block or thick book. Step onto your prop with the forefoot elevated and your heel on the floor. Step the other foot in front without lifting the heel of your propped foot. If your calf muscles are flexible enough, bend your front knee. Do this by a wall or counter if you find it hard to maintain your balance.
When you are practicing on your own or in a class, try to focus on keeping weight in your heels, especially in poses like Warrior 2. Notice if your habit is to load the forefoot and toes. When you take the weight into your heels, you are transferring the lines of force and energy through the skeletal structure. This will allow you to feel stronger and more steady.
First, use sensible footwear. That means no flip-flops or high heels. Why? Because they mess with healthy foot mechanics and how you walk. If you canâ€™t imagine walking more than a block in the shoes you are wearing, itâ€™s a sign that they are not helping your feet and everything stacked on your feet.
When walking, think about having your feet point forward and push off with your big toe. Feel like you are gliding down the fashion runway by taking the back leg well back before pushing off with your big toe. And get your arms in on the action as well. A generous swing with you arms will tone your triceps and help relax your shoulders â€“ bonus!
I hope you will join me for classes this month. At the beginning of each class we will do something helpful for our feet. Help your body feel free from aches and fatigue whose root cause may be about how your use and abuse your amazing feet!
Give you feet the love they deserve this month!