We may not literally be able to hold the whole world in the palm of our hands, but we can get in touch with the world through our feet. Like a comprehensive switchboard, the feet are a microsystem. We are composed of thousands of nerve endings that connect every part of us from organs to bones to muscles; the feet give and receive information on the flow of vital energy throughout the mind and body. By turning our awareness to the experience of our feet, we can awaken a connection to our bodies and deepen our bond with the earth.
Our feet are our foundation. They are the only area of the body that has direct contact with the ground as we stand and walk. In addition to holding all of our weight, the feet gather a continuous stream of feedback from the outside world and signal the brain at rapid speeds. Each time we move, we activate our nerve endings—the switchboards on the soles of the feet. For example, we accommodate our terrain by putting pressure on various parts of the feet and adjusting our position. Whether we’re standing on a yoga mat, pressing a gas pedal, or pounding the pavement, the process is the same—we adapt by changing how we ground the feet. That grounding, or lack thereof, affects our overall posture and stability.
Consciously grounding the feet on any surface helps us to stand tall and initiates a kinship with nature, in which we can feel the world speak to us through every step. However, we can only listen through the places in our body that are open to receive the conversation—those areas directly connected to the ground. Our awareness of how we hold our weight and our acknowledgment of the support beneath our feet help us honor our relationship to the earth, nurture our roots, and align our whole body with the forces of gravity and nature.
We leave our footprint, like an echo etched in time, along the path we walk each day. Bringing our attention to how we move through the feet awakens our choices and invites the journey to form and inform us along the way.
- Go barefoot. The earth is magnetic and emits good vibes that boost our overall well-being. Research indicates that we can benefit physically and emotionally from these powerful electrons when we go barefoot.
- Get balanced. Take a moment to notice where you hold your body weight while standing. Assess if you’re putting more pressure on the right or left foot, then zoom in on specific points like the bases of the toes, heels, and arches. Reposition yourself soyour weight is evenly distributed on each foot and all the points. This alignment technique will set up the foundation for your posture, clarify the signals between the feet and the brain, and balance your nervous system.
- Ground the feet. Just like the roots of a tree reaching down and wide to imbibe nourishment, connect with the earth by pressing down through the soles of the feet. Imagine inhaling to pull energy up through your arches, as if receiving nutrients from the ground, and exhaling to push energy down through the bases of your toes and the heels, as if anchoring deeply into the bedrock.