Foot Exercises

These exercises are intended to be done after the Second Session and then periodically after that. As Ida Rolf said, “we die from the ground up”. So, everyone can stand to improve how their feet function.

Foot experiments from Mind and Muscle by Elizabeth Langford

( I call them – If your foot was a paw wouldn’t life be great)

Experiment 1

Sitting on a chair, toes and heels on the floor, lift one leg so that the foot slightly clears the ground. Try to make sure that the foot is just hanging freely from the ankle. Then lower the leg, allowing the floor to arrange the foot as it lands. Try not to prepare the foot in mid-air for its contact with the floor! (This is not always quite as easy as it sounds- there are so many habits involved.) (Using a mirror sometimes helps to catch yourself tensing up). Repeat with the other foot, then alternate the feet a few times.

Experiment 2

Standing, repeat the same procedure. It may be a good idea to rest your hand lightly on a chair-back or shelf of convenient height, so as to avoid any preoccupation with balance. The feet and ankles should be as passive as possible. Looking down at your feet will interfere with the co-ordination of your upper body, so it is better to use a mirror.

Experiment 3

Walk across the room at various speeds, still trying not to re-arrange your foot when it is off the ground. Many people have been so brain-washed by the ‘pick up your feet, walk heel-and-toe’ nonsense that they can’t manage this at once, so be patient with yourself. If you really manage to leave your feet to look after themselves, you may be able to observe some interesting things.

3(a) Walk really slowly and casually, as though you were window-shopping. It may happen that the ball of your foot touches the ground slightly before the heel does.

3(b) If you walk a little faster, with small steps, you may find that ball and heel touch down more or less simultaneously.

3© A bigger stride may bring your heel down first.

3(d) Repeat these three experiments with your shoes on. Unless the shoes are totally without heels, this makes a difference. Can you say what the difference is? Don’t try to prove anything- just experiment and observe.

I warn you that it is not easy to be the detached observer of what you yourself are doing! For instance, if you look down at your feet to see what they are doing, you can hardly call that observing what they do naturally. I suggest you pretend to yourself that you are really strolling, hurrying, etc. and ask an objective friend to watch what really happens. Mirrors are useful, too.

I don’t want to lay down rules about these things- that would be to encourage you out of the frying pan into the fire. I just want to draw your attention to the fact that, left to their own devices, your feet are capable of greater subtlety of reaction than you may supposed.

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