I am giving a lot of attention to my feet at the moment! May sound strange but it is part of the homework for the myofascial movement course I am attending with Gary Carter this year. I have just spent several weeks by pebbled beaches in the South of France, and the timing couldn’t have been better for putting into practice what I learned on the third weekend of the ten-weekend course.
Every day while away, I walked barefoot on the pebbles. I do this every summer, however this time I put much more attention into how it felt walking on this uneven surface. It is always a shock to the system the first day! There is no doubt it hurts more for some people than others. Every year, more and more holiday makers seem to adopt beach plastic shoes in order to avoid any discomfort. And although there are lots of children running around on the pebbles as if completely fine, many parents are equipping their children with “protection” shoes.
Can I just say: The more you practise, the easier it gets. My feet having been in shoes for the most part of the eleven previous months, I had to walk more slowly, more carefully. Discomfort sometimes, but not all the time. I was not going far, I was mostly walking between my towel and the water! After 10 days, it became easy, and after 15 days, I didn’t even have to think about it. My last beach day was the best. It offered a major insight. As I stepped barefoot out on the pebbles that morning, a thought came flashing through my head: “My feet feel home”. A sense of calmness came over me, and it felt amazing.
“Feet feeling home” gave a felt sense to my body that the surface I was walking on was not hostile, and that I was safe. I could allow myself to fully trust the surface, not only with my mind but with my body as well. It was like a special connection.
Fascia is the tissue that is found just underneath our skin, as well as everywhere else in the body. 70% of our nervous system is situated in our fascia! I guess that in terms of fascia, “feet feeling home” meant that my body was able to fully relax instead of creating unconscious resistance in me as my feet were meeting the wobbly surface. This is important, as our feet represent our contact point to the earth! Remembering that our feet are not built for the straight, even surface we normally live on, it being in shoes, on floors or a yoga mat, it felt really good to know that I had brought my feet “back” to fully accept a natural surface.
I have returned to London now. I will replace walking on pebbles with rolling a golf ball under the soles of my feet to keep my feet alert and accepting of wobbly surfaces 🙂
If the opportunity comes up for you, why not try out some barefoot walking on uneven surface before the autumn starts? Wishing you well X