Since we have been behind in posting our challenges, here are two in one, both bringing our awareness to our feet. In tango, often we can get caught up in the placement of our feet, but forget to feel them, or even use them. Here are two exercises to help us be more in touch with this part of our body that carries enormous responsibility.
Tuning into our feet
This challenge, very simply, asks us to bring our awareness to the bottom of our feet. As you stand and walk, draw your attention to the way the bottom of your foot makes contact with the floor and how your weight moves through your foot, creating pressure into the floor.
Walk deliberately, allowing your foot to relax into the floor. We often know that we hold tension in our shoulders or lower back, or other parts of our body, but we can also hold tension in our feet, making them more rigid and less able to adapt and provide balance as our weight shifts as we move. You might find that this simple exercise feels almost like a massage, too.
You might also be able to sense the internal “springs” in your foot as you walk, or even while you stand, rocking in different directions. The two arches in our foot — the transverse and longitudinal arches– form a large spring. Notice if you can find springiness and responsiveness throughout your foot.
Connecting our feet and our sacrum to “root”
The second challenge, after we have explored the dynamics of our feet, is to find an even stronger connection to the floor with our body, using the feet as the conductor of energy.
First stand on both feet and bring your weight back into your heels. Notice if you had to move quite a bit to do so. Often we place our weight on the front of our feet, while still feeling like our weight is evenly spread throughout our foot. After “finding” your heels, allow your body to shift so that your weight is truly evenly balanced, bringing your weight just forward enough so that you don’t feel you are going to tip over backwards.
The next step is to “drop” your tailbone toward the floor and to feel how it affects your feet. For information on how to connect with and align your tailbone, please look at our past challenges: Perceiving the dynamic sacrum and Aligning our sacrum. The difference will be subtle, but move in and out of the position to notice the changes that happen through your feet and all the way into your spine.
Now, bring this dynamic into your walk and notice how you feel. You might even repeat the previous exercise to see if you notice a difference in your stability and balance.
These two exercises will hopefully encourage and remind all of us how our whole body connects us to the ground, through our feet, and how vital our feet and that connection are to how the rest of our body functions and moves.