the brain in your feet – Feldenkrais style

This may come as a surprise to you - it certainly did to me years ago - even after a decade teaching Feldenkrais.

But pain, injury, problems walking, and even certain social anxieties can sometimes begin in the feet.

That may sound crazy to some people, I know.

But stay with me.

The thing is, your feet were not designed to walk over the HARD, flat surfaces that we have in the modern world.

Your feet were designed to walk on grass, dirt, sand, and rocks and adapt to a huge variety of uneven surfaces.

It has only been in the last few thousand years that we (homo sapiens) have started wearing shoes and for a much shorter time that we have been forced to walk - almost exclusively - on concrete, tile, asphalt, and other hard, flat surfaces.

Why does that matter? Because your feet are amazingly complex. Each of your feet is made up of 28 bones, 30 joints and more than 100 muscles, tendons and ligaments. The complexity allows for incredible flexibility - but only if your environment provides it.

And the lack of variability in our modern world causes pain.

It limits how your feet move.

And when the movement in your feet and toes are limited, it affects your entire musculoskeletal system - your ankles, knees, hips, lower back, and even your neck and shoulders.

But it doesn’t stop there.

The entire system is disrupted and affected, including the brain.

Think of it this way: When you walk and your toes and feet can sense and adjust to variations in the environment, the feedback runs up your nervous system to your spine and brain and helps orient you to possibilities for movement and action. Without that feedback, one begins to lose touch with the flexibility in the feet and spine and to limit one's daily activities (often without even realizing it). And people who don't feel comfortable walking will often limit their time interacting with nature and with people outside their homes.

This is especially true as we grow older.

I have been obsessing about this the last few days while emerging from quarantine. I have had some tension in my lower back that has made it nearly impossible to do Feldenkrais sessions while lying down. And it has been hard to sit, so I am working at my desk while standing up.

But when I went back and started playing with various standing feldenkrais sessions and walking- sessions that "wake up" the complex movements of the feet and toes, I began to feel better.

Just as importantly, it began to give a "boost" to my energy and mental clarity.

It's as if there is an extra brain in my feet that is woken up by Feldenkrais.

It might have worked TOO well as here I am still typing this blog post, when I would rather be out walking on the beach!

Perhaps I should stop for now.

If you want to experience in your body what I am trying to explain in words, both of my walking series are available below. They can help you to quickly eliminate stress and keep your moving and active in these challenging times: