At Harmony, we believe in the power of student-centered learning and inquiry. Asking a specific and well-timed question actively engages and empowers you, the learner.
I’ve recently been asking clients, "When you are in quiet standing, are you able to fully stand in your own footprint?” I think it is a helpful question and is especially good for standing balance work on one leg. Imagined and asked in another way, “Can you see your footprint from the perspective of the floor and notice which parts are filled in and which parts are vacant?"
Why it matters…The position from which you apply pressure and force through your foot against the surface you are standing on determines what muscles are active. Not just foot and ankle muscles but muscles all the way up the kinetic chain through the pelvis and into the spine. To have healthy, balanced muscle tone, we need to spread the love and not overburden one area of the leg or foot over another.
By asking the question, “are you standing fully into your footprint?" you can actually feel and notice your habitual tendencies in real time. You don’t have to rely exclusively on your teacher. In fact, with the ability to access all the sensory information coming from the central nervous system, you have a significant advantage over your teacher.
When you roll to the inside or to the outside of your foot, when you lean back in your heels or grip your toes in standing, that extra tension can also reduce the shock absorbability of the foot. Remember that our knees and hips and even our brains depend on our feet to help cushion the impact of walking, leaping and running.
The good news is that you have an abundance of touch/pressure receptors in your foot. And once you start noticing your footprint, you’re also bound to notice the way you roll through the foot when you do footwork and when you take a walk in the park. By the way, walking is good for us in so many ways but I’ll save that for another day…
For now, I wish you good luck with this inquiry - only you can stand in your own feet!