How often do you think about your toes? Are you someone who takes care of their feet, or do you shove them in shoes and ignore them? Are they a part of yourself that’s a bit too far away to think about?
Feet are the most underrated parts of our body. But them working optimally: being supple and movable is crucial for our back and leg health. Yes: how movable your toes and feet are affects whether or not you’ll be walking easily in later life.
The foot is designed that the whole length of the toes spread forwards and outwards to take your body weight as we walk around. The weight needs to be able to spread across the full width and length of the foot: in three main directions: the heel, the base of the little toes, and the big toe. If the toes are squashed together they can’t work properly, and will affect the working of the ankle, knee, and hip joints. As the song goes: “Your thighbone’s connected to your…leg bone..etc…”
Don’t take my word for it, try it yourself:
In lying, with the feet standing and knees bent, or sitting with feet flat on the floor on the edge of a chair: slide the big toe of one foot inwards, towards, and then on top of the second toe, as far as is comfortable. Return the toe to the starting position, and make the same movement a few times. What do you feel happening in the ankle? The knee? The hip?
Feel how the ankle moves inwards, and downwards, pulling the muscles of the inside arch of the foot closer to the floor. And the knee has no choice but to accompany the ankle in the inward slant. Which in turn pulls on the outside muscles of the thigh all the way up to the outside top of the pelvis.
Try something else…
Lift the base of the big toe towards the ceiling, leaving the pad of the toe on the floor (if possible) Do you hold the knee or allow it to move? If you allow it movement, where does the knee go now? The knee is only a simple hinge joint. The complex movements of the leg are made in conjunction with the feet/ankle and hips.
If the feet and toes aren’t supple, its likely that there is excess effort in the knee joint and the foot, ankle and hip are compensating. If that’s the case for you do you have hip, knee or back pain?
Come to my workshop on the 19th of August, and we’ll explore together how you can easily improve the working of your feet and legs.
We’ll be using sensory awareness and exploration (unusual movements in unusual positions) as tools to improve your co-ordination and understanding of how your body works. We’ll be working on breaking down your habitual patterns of movement to find new ones which may serve your needs better: something that’s hard to do alone, but easy to do with guidance.
Feldenkrais differs from exercise modalities , in which it is assumed you should strengthen your muscles if weak; if inflexible you should stretch; or if you think you have ‘bad posture’ you should stand or sit up straight.
I work with how you move and your habits of moving. We use your innate ability to learn, improve co-ordination and self-regulation of your movement by working with the nervous system. Feldenkrais works with the language of the brain. Movement is the primary language of all of us.
It doesn’t matter how strong your muscles are if they can’t co-ordinate with other parts of yourself. We will be working smart, not hard.
Your brain might be tired at the end of the day, but most people feel refreshed, relaxed and energised after our workshops.