Radical Self Care
We live in a culture and world today that values doing over being which subsequently keeps our energy forward-moving and far away from being present. This masculine “doing” energy is clearly needed to support action in our lives, but when not balanced with enough “being”/feminine energy, we can begin to dissociate from our bodies and move up into our head and out of connection with our selves –contributing to the #1 disease of our world today: overwhelm.
When we are in overwhelm, we disconnect from our inner wisdom and higher self –and often get on the hamster wheel of doing more of the same old, same old without getting different results. Not only do we not get something different, we begin to feed disease in our being emotionally and physically.
When you notice that your sleep is getting disrupted, you are over-eating, anxious, drinking too much alcohol, become off-center, stressed or you are feeling overall tension and/or “up in your head”, you name it –take some time and get into your feet. Literally get into your feet. Yes, take off your shoes and let’s get started.
Some Facts About Our Feet
Our feet are designed to perfectly transport our energy to a more grounded place. They are our foundation, providing stability but they also support mobility and flexibility– not just in our bodies, but in our minds/emotions as well.
Each foot has 26 bones and by engaging our feet, we can begin to shift the connective tissue, muscles and skin which impact our overall body health. These small bones often become limited in range of motions due to sitting, the kind of shoes we wear, and walking on hard surfaces.
Our feet can hold our emotional stories. If in our early lives we felt burdened, unstable or not cared for our feet may hold the story by collapsing. Also, if we felt sympathetic activation with fight/flight energy, our feet may hold the tension, becoming rigid and not able to nourish our bodies. This impacts everything that follows.
Practice Makes Perfect
We can shift our relationship with overwhelm by engaging in a few practices to shift our brain cells with our body nerve cells.
First bus stop: Go outside and feel your feet on the earth. This is a version of a practice called Earthing. Earthing can be any way that you allow your body to connect with the earth. The easiest way is to take your shoes off and feel the soles/”souls” of your feet in the grass. It takes you out of your head and into your present moment experience. Yes, notice the way the grass feels on your skin. Observe how the texture of the softness and firmness of the earth feels on your feet. The sensory
We may even get transported to a younger time, when, if you were like me and ran around with your shoes off. You may find yourself wanting to skip, roll or do a cartwheel. Weeeee!
2nd Bus Stop: Go barefoot. When at home leave your shoes at the door. This can give your feet more space to move around.
The quality of our arches can support strength and stability in the emotional and physical arena.
3rd Bus Stop: Pada Bandha – (foot+lock) When the feet are on the ground, spread the toes and press the entire foot on the ground to distribute the weight evenly amongst the 3 arches of the foot. The three arches are located from the big toe to the little toe, the big toe to the ankle and the ankle to the little toe, creating a triangle. This supports strengthening the arches to allow for more stability, awareness and ability to be flexible.
When are feet are open and strong, we can really pull life force from the earth into our feet. Just like the root system in trees – we have one system in each foot to support us in having a firm trunk and core to allow for mobility.
4th Bus Stop: Mountain pose (from Yoga Outlet)
- Stand with your feet together and your arms at your sides. Press your weight evenly across the balls and arches of your feet. Breathe steadily and rhythmically. Draw your awareness inward. Focus on the present moment, letting all worries and concerns fade away.
- Press your big toes together (separate your heels if you need to). Lift your toes and spread them apart. Then, place them back down on the mat, one at a time.
- If you have trouble balancing, stand with your feet six inches apart (or wider).
- Draw down through your heels and straighten your legs. Ground your feet firmly into the earth, pressing evenly across all four corners of both feet.
- Then, lift your ankles and the arches of your feet. Squeeze your outer shins toward each other.
- Draw the top of your thighs up and back, engaging the quadriceps. Rotate your thighs slightly inward, widening your sit bones.
- Tuck in your tailbone slightly, but don’t round your lower back. Lift the back of your thighs, but release your buttocks. Keep your hips even with the center line of your body.
- Bring your pelvis to its neutral position. Do not let your front hip bones point down or up; instead, point them straight forward. Draw your belly in slightly.
- As you inhale, elongate through your torso. Exhale and release your shoulder blades away from your head, toward the back of your waist.
- Broaden across your collarbones, keeping your shoulders in line with the sides of your body.
- Press your shoulder blades toward the back ribs, but don’t squeeze them together. Keep your arms straight, fingers extended, and triceps firm. Allow your inner arms to rotate slightly outward.
- Elongate your neck. Your ears, shoulders, hips, and ankles should all be in one line.
- Keep your breathing smooth and even. With each exhalation, feel your spine elongating. Softly gaze forward toward the horizon line. Hold the pose for up to one minute.
4th Bus Stop: Tree Pose (from Yoga Outlet)
- Begin standing in Mountain Pose (Tadasana), with your arms at your sides. Distribute your weight evenly across both feet, grounding down equally through your inner ankles, outer ankles, big toes, and baby toes.
- Shift your weight to your left foot. Bend your right knee, then reach down and clasp your right inner ankle. Use your hand to draw your right foot alongside your inner left thigh. Do not rest your foot against your knee, only above or below it. Adjust your position so the center of your pelvis is directly over your left foot. Then, adjust your hips so your right hip and left hip are aligned.
- Rest your hands on your hips and lengthen your tailbone toward the floor. Then, press your palms together in prayer position at your chest, with your thumbs resting on your sternum.
- Fix your gaze gently on one, unmoving point in front of you.
- Draw down through your left foot. Press your right foot into your left thigh, while pressing your thigh equally against your foot.
- Inhale as you extend your arms overhead, reaching your fingertips to the sky. Rotate your palms inward to face each other. If your shoulders are more flexible, you can press your palms together in prayer position, overhead.
- Hold for up to one minute. To release the pose, step back into Mountain Pose. Repeat for the same amount of time on the opposite side.
Give these practices a try as you begin to shift into a more empowered, embodied, present-focused way of living your life — and tune in and notice the shifts in your nervous system, your attitude, your awareness.
How we relate to ourselves is often the biggest determining factor of what comes next…the outcomes we receive. This is our quiet power. As we center with our feet, we can find our breath and shift our nervous system to create more harmony in our life. And watch your overwhelm begin to transform into ENOUGH!