balancing act

I took another reflexology class this past weekend. This one was about the structures of the foot and lower leg. We spent a lot of time talking about the bones and joints and the way the weight coming down each leg is supposed to be distributed evenly. Each foot bears weight like a tripod between 1) the big toe and medial ball, 2) the outer toes and lateral ball, and 3) the heel.

Here’s an exercise for you to get a feel for how you’re balancing your weight:

  1. Stand up straight with your bare feet hip-width apart (mountain pose in yoga).
  2. Tune in to where you’re holding your weight. If you don’t feel balanced, shift around until you do. Think about the tripod analogy. Lean forward a bit and try to center your weight over the balls of your feet and then lean back again to stabilize on the heels.
  3. Try lifting your toes, spreading them, and pressing them back down. Is this difficult?
  4. Try shifting your weight to one side and lifting the other leg. How easy is it to maintain your balance on one foot?
  5. Try the other side. Is it easier, harder, or about the same?

I’ve had issues since childhood with feet that roll inward (pronation) and hyperextended knees. I was extremely pigeontoed and basically held on with my toes when I was learning to walk. I’ve been working on this for a long time. I pretty much forced myself to stop being pigeontoed when I got old enough to feel self-conscious about it. Now the only remnant is that my right foot starts to point inward when I’m tired. But I think my remaining issues are to blame for a lot of my lower back discomfort. This weekend gave me clarity on exactly what I need to do to re-educate my feet, re-train my posture, and get my body into balance.

In addition to reflexology and conscious attention, I really need some core strengthening. I like my little pot belly, but the weak muscles behind it make my posture tend towards saggy and caved-in. Anybody have any exercise tips? I know pilates is awesome for core strengthening, but I find the repetition boring and I’m not into the equipment. Yoga helps, but I’ve only been in a few classes in which the teachers emphasized core work.

Here are a few items I found on YouTube:

Oh, I almost forgot about hooping! Fabulous for core strength and not remotely boring. I’ll have to do a little post soon to refer you to some of my favorite hooping resources (those of you who haven’t already been initiated by Ariel). Now that the weather’s warming up, it’s time for me to finally learn some tricks.

One thought on “balancing act

  1. I need to get in the yard with my hoop. I still need a lot of practice! One day I’ll be ready for some awesome tricks. Then we can hoop together. Maybe in 2008!

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