It is often stated that the eyes are the windows into the soul and, while this may be the case, a truth that is often ignored can be found in a soul that is much more concrete: a soul with the durability to carry us more than 70,000 miles over the course of a lifetime and the versatility to endure not only walking, but running and jumping as well.
This soul can be found on the bottom of our feet though, much like the eyes, they are the gateway to something greater. In many ways, the feet are like the contents of a sought after treasure chest that, if discovered and opened, can offer riches beyond belief. This treasure chest can be personally found and, with care, unlocked. Look down; discover your feet and the hidden treasure of alignment that waits.
The feet are an access pathway to the spinal cord which bridges to the central nervous system. This allows for training through the feet to change the dynamics with which we move and function. If the feet are able to learn new things as simple as lifting or spreading the toes, the body changes its movement pattern and increases its functional capacity. This adjustment improves the quality of daily activities as well as any sport or fitness training.
Put Your Feet to the Test
When you step up to your Kettlebell or to the front of your yoga mat, shift your awareness to your feet as you spread and lift all ten toes. This brings an awareness into the legs. Press down into each of the four corners and root the feet in to the floor. You will notice the resting power of your lower legs increase.
The art of grounding down through the feet and pulling the strength up through the legs (root to rise) is important for every technique, pose or movement. The four quadrants of the foot should be imprinted in your memory bank and recognition brought to each point. The ball of the big toe, the joint of the fifth digit, and the outer edge of each side of the heel serve as the grounding points for rooting the feet.
Problems with your feet translate to the rest of your body.
Things that constrict the muscles of the foot are ill-fitting footwear, hard surfaces, and even overzealous sporting activities. If the feet are not treated with care and regard to their function, the support structures break down and the arches collapse or weaken. This weakness is transferred up through the rest of the body.
Neck pain, for example, may be a result of the collapse of the foot arch. Practicing barefoot training (flat soled rubber shoes) with the arts of kettlebells and yoga allows the feet to regain their original flexibility and strength, returning to their organic blueprint that predated the ability to walk. As you train with consistent awareness of your feet, notice how their outer appearance and structure changes over time.
Regardless of your activity, awareness of the foot’s importance in all your movements is critical. The foot’s complex anatomy propels you forward with each step you take. If the functional foundations of the feet are solid, other areas of chronic injury or pain may be affected in a positive way.
What does all this mean? Begin to pay attention to your feet for the first time in your life. This minor shift in perception could open a treasure chest of previously unimaginable personal improvement.