Chapter 2 :: Standing on Your Own Two Feet Scroll Down >>>
The purpose of the second section is to align the legs, horizontalize the knee and ankle joints, and distribute the weight of the body over the arches of the feet.
The theme of this section is "Standing On Your Own Two Feet." In this section we consider issues of security, self-support, and sufficiency. An outgrowth of self-sufficiency is self-worth, re- flected in the phrases "an upstanding citizen," and "taking a stand." With a firm foundation underneath us, we are better able to "understand," comprehend, and grasp whatever we are dealing with.
Independence requires support. Without the support of the ground, our legs would be useless. Independence does not mean that we cannot depend on anyone else. On the contrary, we need stability in order to receive support. In the physical world the ground is our ultimate support and it is through our feet and legs that we experience it. In what ways do you stand on your own two feet? In your desire to be independent, do you still allow support? In this section we consider the integration of independence and support.
Anatomy and Structure
Anatomically, the focus of this section is on the superficial musculature and connective tissues of the feet and legs.
Structurally, the purposes of this section are to horizontalize the knee and ankle joints, and to distribute the weight of the body appropriately over the arches of the feet.
In the diagram of leg alignment to the left, the bony structures of two misaligned legs are represented next to an aligned leg. Drawing A is a "knock kneed" leg, Drawing B is a "bowed" leg, and Drawing C shows an aligned leg. Notice how the joints in the first two legs are forced to function on a slant. In an aligned leg, the joints are horizontal, which is the optimal and balanced way for this joint to function.
In movement, our goal is for you to walk in a balanced manner so that your body's weight flows evenly over your entire foot. In a balanced walk, the knee moves softly and easily - it does not lock - and the walk is graceful and flowing. When the walk is balanced, there is no shock to the body.
Movement Lesson :: Walking Straight Ahead
Take a walk and notice the direction of your feet. Do your toes point out somewhat like a ballet dancer, as shown in the drawing of the man to the right, Drawing A?
If so, shift the direction of your feet so that your second toe is now the leader. This will bring your toes in and direct your legs so that they are moving straight ahead, as in Drawing B. Walk like this and see how it feels. This shift should be done gently and with the input of your Practitioner to account for your individual needs.
Movement Lesson :: Balanced Weight Over Arches
The inner and outer arches of the foot, and exaggerated styles of walking on these arches, are shown to the left. Walk and notice how the weight of your body comes down through your foot. Do you carry most of your weight on the outside part of your foot, over the outer arch? Look at your shoes and see if they are worn on the outside.
The weight of the body should be balanced over both arches of the foot. Experiment with walking like this, letting your weight come down on your heel and then go directly across your foot and out your second toe. Remember to let the second toe lead. How does this feel? Can you sense the even flow of weight through your entire foot? Does it give your walk more balance and stability?
Movement Lesson :: Relaxed Joints
As you practice a balanced walk, relax your ankle and knee joints. Allow them to be soft and fluid. Notice how walking feels now, compared with walking prior to this session.
Notice how stable you are in the world - financially, emotionally, and in your personal relationships. Bring stability to some aspect of your life that has been unstable. Remember to allow yourself to receive support.