It all starts with your feet. Your feet are the foundation of your entire body, like any buildings, if the foundation is not laid properly, it affects the stability and the construction of the building, and so are your feet.
In our yoga classes or Yoga Teachers Training courses, we place great emphasis in understanding the human structure with the focus on the anatomy of the feet first. We access people’s challenges barefoot because foot is the glimpse of how their hip is functioning as the famous Davinci quotes “Human foot is the master piece of engineering and work art”.
Everything above the feet help to place the feet in where we want it, do you know your hips and your feet actually work together? Your hips position your feet, the feet can then fire the muscles to hold it in a stable position once it has been positioned by the hips. This is why in our teaching, we emphasise on standing hips width distance, not “feet together”. Biomechanically, our feet work optimally if we place our feet parallel to each other.
Consider for a moment the important function of your feet. The feet alone make up a quarter of all the bones in the human body. They have 56 bones, 60 joints, and over 200 muscles, ligaments and tendons, this simple means your feet is supposed to bring you motions. Mobilising your foot bring motions to it, especially when you do it barefooted because shoes restrict motions. What will happen to these bones and joints when you do not move? As I always say, the better the functions of the shoes are, the weaker the functions of your feet. Your feet are your sensor, and it communicates with your brain. Free your feet and enjoy the sensation as your walk barefoot, it is important to keep your feet healthy but make sure you do this on a safe surfaces.
One of the most common challenges associated with feet is “flatfoot”. Is flat foot genetics? Well the good news is NO! Everyone has foot arches; it all depends on the responsiveness of the fascia and muscles of your feet, remember your foot has a wide network of muscles, ligaments and fascia. Don’t be over caught up with the idea of arches. You may have heard by “lifting the toes up” will help build the arches of the feet. But this will not really help to build the responsiveness of the muscles or fascia. Try looking at things as a whole chain, not just isolating it.
Arches of the feet are formed by the hips, can you believe it? We will look at how hips affect the form of arches of feet. Remember, what affect the position of the feet based on what things upstream is doing, such as your legs and hips. Here is a little test for the arches of your feet, have fun trying
- Stand feet apart, as wide as your hips
- Observe your feet, notice if the arches are responsive
- Lightly bend your knees like you are doing utkatasana ( chair pose), anterior tilting your pelvis
- With both your palm pressing on both outer knees, and resist the palms with your knees.
- This activates the legs, and you create hips rotation
- Hips rotation fires the glutes, and this changes the arch of the foot. The plantar fascia and muscles of the feet response to the forces created upstream.
- Notice the arches of your feet now