How we develop biomechanically begins with our feet, the foundation of the body's movement, capability and limitations. The feet are what connects us to the world beneath us and it is through them we absorb the vibrations of the earth. A bad connection makes for a bad game of telephone no? Just as improper or bad use of our feet leads to dis-ease in the body and ultimately blurred communication with mother earth. Did I lose you there? Too much?!
How about this: a cracked foundation makes for a crappy house, no matter what we do to make it beautiful it will always have a weak base, and be at risk of crumbeling. Think of it in terms of working really hard on how you look and feel, eating well and exercising but it is all for not if your foundation is ailing.
Take it back to the very beginning and explore the minutiae of it all. It may seem boring at first, however when we understand how a body works more intrically we are looking at a lifetime of ease, suppleness, flexilbity and optimal health. Isn't that what we all want?
The practice of yoga is all about buidling a solid and healthy foundation so the practice can evolve and blossom into something beautiful. Approaching yoga with an open heart and seeing it for what it is, a lifestyle, can profoundly change your perspective on exercise. I "work out" so that I can move more freely and be in this body comfortably, the rest is just decoration on the cake, the day I realized this is the day my life changed, becoming much more manageable emotionally and physically.
So here it is, a little exercise to get you thinking and moving differently.
Have you ever stood and thought about your feet? Do it now...
Stand on them, stand in them. How does it feel? What do you feel?
Move your weight around in them, do this with eyes closed. Can you find a point where you feel balanced from toes to heel, left to right, front to back? Open your eyes and see this alignment in a full length mirror. Look at your feet, your knees, your hips and your shoulders. How does it look? Then close your eyes and start again finding this sense of balance in all parts of your body, then checking what it looks like in the mirror.
You may also reverse this process by finding "good" posture and alignment in the mirror and then closing your eyes to see how it feels and work backwards towards the teeny tiny internal cues of balance.
I have taught entire classes of yoga where I make no mention of any other alignment without first referencing the foot's connection to the ground. In my own practice I have spent hours working my alignment from my feet to the tops of my thighs and no further... and this practice has changed my life.
How can we fly if we have no place to take off from? How can a tree grow without rooting down deeply into earth? These metaphors are relevant to being human, in this body and practicing yoga and life. We are all nature, little bundles of energy collected together at varying intensities but as humans (the "smart" species) we must seek the space/place/moment where all the lines dissolve between self, air and ojects around us to truly understand what it means to be nature.
If you want to find your feet, find nature and feel it along the way. Sometimes we need the help of a yoga teacher or physio therapist or pilates teacher to help us hone the perfect stance but with time, practice and patience you will find yours...
And your body will thank you.