Everyone that ran around in bare feet during their childhood summers put up a hand.
My guess here is that if you are over 45 the larger percentage of you have your hand in the air. Correct me if I am wrong (I have my ideas on why this is and am keen to hear yours).
Shoeless summers were so free! It felt wonderful to not be burdened by the chore of putting shoes on or off (a big reason I think thongs and the easy on/off are the preferred warm weather shoe option). Dirty feet were washed nightly, and I always felt the murky water indicated a day well spent in the outdoors.
The warmth of a sidewalk, the coolness of the grass, the squish of sand between your toes were all sensations I treasured. Even walking on smoother gravel was a sweet ooh ahh reflexology treatment that made you smile and laugh (does anyone here have one of those pebble showers…oh so yummy!).
I still walk barefoot at times and was recently reminded of it when I saw a young lady at the Kimberley grad walk carrying her heels in her hand. Conforming to culture I put on a pair of heels for my step daughter’s grad. It really didn’t last long, the bulk of the night I carried them around like a hand bag fashion accessory versus a foot accessory.
The best barefoot times are when I am not separated from the earth, no pavement or concrete, just spongy soil or vegetation. I have always been pulled to this, and now there is science out there to support how great this is for body and mind. The name for this practice is earthing.
Locked up in shoes, especially shoes that force feet into unnatural positions, the muscles and bones of our primary connection to earth cannot function the way nature intended to balance us and move us through our days. These muscles get lazy and shut down and as I like to say, for all of you out there that are “posture aware” the feet are the punctuation to the posture. How you connect to earth sets up how we grow from it. “Good” posture can:
- Immediately help us lose 10 lbs visually;
- Support the body in an ideal least amount of work way;
- Eliminate body pains; and
- Allow you to gain functionality (read strength, mobility and stability) lost through less than ideal architecture.
We also miss the connectivity to mother nature that can ground us and calm us.
All this is yet another reason I LOVE yoga. It is one of the few activities out there that you do in bare feet. You can begin to reclaim lost foot strength with a regular practice, even change the way your feet look! Peek right now, are they crunched up, and neglected looking? They just want to get let out to play! The more they play the better they will feel, look and function.
Occasionally I do a foot focus yoga class to help with awareness here. Since I will be bumping up my classes this summer I expect there will be one in there somewhere. If you are in Kimbertown and keen to try some yoga and wake up your feet drop me a line and make a request. I love theme classes requested by students!
Meantime…happy Barefoot’n 🙂