Consider your feet. Most of us don’t give them a second thought except when they hurt or don’t fit into that perfectly adorable shoe that you can never find in your size. We paint our toes to make them look prettier and are never quite satisfied with the smoothness of our heels, although we never quite consider how they got that way. Yes, our feet. Priceless, irreplaceable, under appreciated, this is about your feet, because there is more to your feet than you could ever imagine.
I practice yoga so I am all about my feet. They are the foundation of my ability to stand upright, making thousands of tiny adjustments every minute to ensure I stay that way. I don’t notice it, I am so used to them doing their job I just let them be so they can get on with it. I do appreciate them immensely, though. They keep me from toppling over. If you are someone who texts, talks or surfs while you walk, you should appreciate your feet even more. They are flying blind while you are engrossed in your device, keeping you out of danger as best they can until you check in again.
If you want to feel how much work your feet do, try standing on one foot. First take off your shoes and socks. Your feet work better when they are not boxed in. Stand up straight, the crown of your head reaching tall to the sky, eyes fixed on a point in the distance, and fix one foot firmly to the floor. Feel the floor under your heel and the ball of your foot. Feel your foot expand against the floor and each toe stretch out to help you balance. I love that feeling. It’s as if my foot is saying, “I’m ready when you are.” Your foot feels solid, strong, ready to go to work, right? Now turn the other foot slightly out, bend your knee and rest the sole of your foot against your calf. If you are brave, bend your knee more and press the sole of your foot against your inner thigh. (Never against the inside of your knee, always go higher or go lower.) Bend your elbows and press your hands together in front of your chest. You are officially in Tree Pose.
Can you feel it? Without the help of its mate, your standing foot has more work to do. Let it do its thing. Let it adjust and shift, moving to keep you upright. Have you ever watched someone balance something on their nose or forehead? How they shift around to keep it balanced there? That is sort of what your foot is doing, making thousands of tiny adjustments to keep you balanced.
If you have trouble balancing on your own, stand next to a wall and use your hand for balance. As you get used to it, practice taking your hand off the wall.
Most of us rely on our shoes to do what our feet were born to do. I go barefoot a lot. I love the feeling of my feet on the ground. It’s like I have another sense that tells me what is going on below me while my head tells me what is going on up high. If you have ever walked on a beach you know what I am talking about. The hot, dry sand gives way to the firm, wet sand. The cool (or warm) salty ocean licks at your toes, leaving a whipped cream froth behind. It’s a sensory treat for the feet!
This barely scratches the surface of all that goes on with those little noticed darlings that cart us around all day. Our feet are miraculous. Next time you have yours out, sans socks and shoes, give them a little stretch. Point your toe, flex it toward you, roll your ankle, just move them around and revel in them. Love them; they are yours and yours alone.