We often overlook the profound impact our feet have on our overall well-being. For many of us, our feet have endured years of neglect and mistreatment in the name of fashion, and we’ve even blamed bunions on genetics rather than examining the shape our shoes mould our feet into. The great news is: it’s never too late to notice, reverse damage, and reconnect to this vital part of our body.
I grew up in the Pyrenees mountains, where I loved being a tomboy and nurturing a strong connection with nature. As a child, I resisted the need for new shoes, finding comfort in the sensation of my toes scrunching up within worn-out footwear. Adding new shoes to the list of things to purchase seemed like an unnecessary burden. I grew up surrounded by horses, and my feet often fell victim to their weight and force during my later teens when I was breaking horses in (I know- horrible term!). Despite experiencing the crushing impact of hooves, my determination pushed me to continue, disregarding the pain. I remember one particular winter season with a broken and bruised toe, cramming it into ski boots, resulting in a a whole winter of a swollen black, blue, green, purple, and yellow toe. As a result, I became completely disconnected from my toes, losing both sensation and mobility.
Embarking on my yoga journey searching for a way to reduce the amount of pain I was in, I was bewildered by the instruction to lift and spread my toes: as I gazed around in disbelief, witnessing others effortlessly execute the movement, all I felt was alienated from my own extremities. Staring at my toes, I willed them to respond, but there was an inexplicable void, a disconnection that I couldn’t bridge. This disconnect persisted as I delved into weight training and CrossFit, activities that further exacerbated my condition, leading to extreme bouts of sciatica. Frustrated and seeking a solution, I came across the fascinating world of fascia and the concept of tensegrity, providing a pathway to healing my sciatica and reconnecting with my long-neglected toes.
In 2015, I made a life-changing decision to transition to barefoot footwear. This pivotal moment allowed my toes to finally explore space and slowly forge a connection with my entire foot. Gradually, some of my toes awakened, displaying newfound mobility as they learned to move, lift, and spread. It was a completely revelatory experience, and I am still marveling at the rediscovery of this fundamental part of my body.
Since discovering the work of the barefoot movement, I’ve embarked on a whole new level of exploration and growth. This journey has opened up a new dimension in my 15 years of study in yoga, embodiment, and therapeutic practices. The insights and techniques I’m gaining through this exploration are profoundly impacting my understanding of the body and its intricate workings.
Feet play a vital role in our overall posture. They provide the foundation to our entire body. If our feet are compromised, our entire posture is compromised and other parts will often pay the price. Trendy shoes squeeze and contort our toes into unnatural shapes, leading to foot ailments such as bunions, plantar fasciitis, and chronic pain. Foot health is primary, and if you want to start offering your feet and your posture a chance, be barefoot a often as possible, summer is a perfect season for happy feet. Check out shoes with wider toe boxes allowing wiggle room for your toes, zero drop heels avoiding shifting the alignment of your ankles, knees, and hips, and flexible soles allowing your feet to function by design. By allowing your feet to function optimally, I have no doubt you too will be blown away by the effect on your whole body.
To reverse the damage and reconnect with your feet, try self-massage, toe lifts, and developing a stronger brain-foot connection. These practices help open up the tissues of the feet, improve balance, and reawaken their natural abilities. I have also created a 13-minute video dedicated to Foot Love, guiding you on the journey to happy, healthy feet.
My personal foot journey serves as a testament to the transformative power of foot care and reconnection. I used to trip all the time and felt clumsy. I was starting to get bunions, and they are disappearing. I no longer sprain my ankles, experience plantar fasciitis or sciatica.
Take the first step towards rediscovering the joy and vitality that comes with nurturing your feet and check out my new video. You’ll be amazed how much more joy and vitality your happy feet will gift you!