Can you feel your precious feet on the floor? The weight falling into heels. Sensitive to the empty space in the dome of the arch. Plump nesting ball of foot. Each teeny earth contact point of ten toe pads. Being grounded in these trying times…so many ways to practice. But you might start with your feet. What do you feel right there, right now?
Our bodies speak to us in sensation. Sometimes, in some body parts these sensations begin to inscribe sentences. Over time some of these sentences develop into chapters. An entire story can become written in a particular region. If you are human, most likely this experience has been yours.
I still remember my body composing a chapter in early 2007. The sensation began so faintly, my foot gently aching from time to time. You might know this one. How a random ache develops into that first step out of bed being exquisitely painful. Sensation that haunts every move, captivates your full attention. When you begin to inquire, plantar fasciitis will be the most common response to “what is this?” On the “how to get rid of it” front, many practitioners will focus on where the sensation is arising: the pain at foot bottom. Seems logical enough.
I limped along with this developing story for a good long while, using my hands to massage the plantar fascia at foot bottom, meds, various supports, rest. Finally went to a physical therapist specializing in foot treatment. Did he treat the painful bottom of my foot? No. Instead he dug into my inner shin, breaking up some gnarly fascial binding. I had no idea this lower leg tightness was causing the foot pain.
I followed up with my own posterior tibialis digging, a muscle that sends its tendons to foot bottom. Plantar fascia is the surface cover over an extremely dense tendon region down there. And those tendons originate from muscles in lower leg. My recovery chapter began with releasing what had tightened. Lately I’ve been calling the release self-care I teach the “gateway drug” because it temporarily relieves the pain. For full healing, after establishing loose, the healing practice of long and strong are ready to move front and center. Not only did I learn how to consistently loosen up tight tissue, I learned how to stretch it accurately and strengthen it as well. This chapter had a happy ending.
Over the ensuing years I’ve treated many of your feet. I love this work and through working with you one-on-one, general principles have emerged that apply to all of our feet. Maybe your foot hurts right now, maybe you’re AOK but this pesky foot thing periodically crops up, maybe you’re just curious about how to prevent this challenging and universal problem.
To that end, this Friday September 17 Essentials begins its new chapter—Foot, Knee, Hip. The first two classes of this series will focus on our incredible feet and uber-connected lower leg. Come get educated and inspired by yoga infused with self-care physical therapy sensibility. Those tootsies will love you for it.