Nature has given us these all terrain vehicles that we never take off road.
What are they? Your feet.
Our feet are weak because we don’t use them. We walk on pavement which is predictable and that doesn’t ask much from our feet. We also don’t walk barefoot enough to strengthen our feet. Fortunately, yoga is done barefoot. Barefoot is the only way to get sensory information to the body through the foot. Nature has put 75 to 80% of the proprioceptors in our body in the region of our ankles to relay sensory information to our nervous system. Why do we have so many proprioceptors here? Because we walk on our two feet. If we can’t get good information from our ankle’s we have no hope of keeping our center line of gravity somewhere within our base of support which keeps us from falling over. When the surfaces we are interacting with are predictable we lose that sensitivity and we don’t have to get that much information from our feet. Without this information going into the body the actions coming from the nervous system to the muscles decrease as well and we get weak. We get weak in the sensory part of the process and in the motor part as well.
What happens when we put our feet into cushioned running shoes? We take these weak western feet can’t hear the earth – that’s what proprioception is. Shoes muffle the foots ability to hear the earth and as a result it hits the ground harder to generate the sensory feedback it’s not getting. Something that was intended to protect the feet may actually be resulting in a greater chance for injury.
What can you do? Go barefoot of course but also be aware of the forces running into and up from the foot.
As you are walking become aware of the downward force running from the heel up to the little toe mound to the big toe mound and out through the big toe and second toe on the forward striking foot. Also, be aware the upward force on the back push off foot running from the big toe mound to the heel. These three points are the only points of the skeleton of the foot that touch the ground. The lines between the points are the arches or lift of the foot that transfer the up and down forces from the body into the foot and from the foot into the body. This awareness as you walk and stand will begin to strengthen the feet, the ankles and shift what is happening in your whole body.