How to Relax Your Feet to Improve Your Martial & Healing Arts
By Raven Cohan
Arches and the entire foot are improved not by tightening feet, but by relaxing them. The challenge is that most people need to learn how to be very specific about concentrating on the placement of nine points of the feet. (In Chinese understandings nine is a very important and empowered number. The nine points include: the heel, the the outer edge, the two balls and the five toes.)
There is the big ball of your foot that is under the big and second toe. The small ball is under the rest of the toes. Touch and even massage, those areas with your finger tips and you will learn that the big ball FEELS stronger than the other, despite the fact that the area it covers is not as broad as the small ball. You might simply sit on a chair with your feet flat on the floor, to enable relaxing your legs. If you’re short, put some blocks or books at an even height under your feet and at the level where your knees are across from your your hip joints. Place your feet down lightly as if into warm, damp cement where you hope to make a print into which every toe revealed is elongated fully.
Before you may stand, place all nine points of the two feet on the floor. The best surface is wooden. Tiles tend to be too cool, but they will have to do. Rugs are too soft. Sand and lawns are uneven and hide your toes. Walk and focus on opening each toe on to the surface only after placing the heel, big balls and toes, through to the outer edge. Please don’t look down. Look straight ahead. My observations show me that many students cannot do that well, perhaps for months and even a year. Before you try any walking exercise, you do well to spend a good amount of time ONLY stretching your toes apart from each other. Then you can go on through the following numbered points:
- As you begin to place the heel, big ball and outer edge, separate your toes as well as you now can. On many people, the smaller toes want to be lazy. All your toes are spread and separated to point up away from the surface. Be patient. Hurry might disappointment you with results that might not be the best just yet.
- Once you are well able to place down your big toe after it’s ball underneath it and the small ball, add in placing the second, third, fourth and pinky consecutively. (If your toes feel as if they are glued together you’ll need to practice separating them for a long time. Ten to fifteen minutes a day and perhaps quite more is going to produce results. Close and open them like spokes of an old fashioned hand-held fan. Do that sitting in a chair. Eventually you begin to feel that the toes can separate one at a time. Please practice.) Simply believe that you are doing a renovation of unused property. That’s true. You have never used your toes well, because normally people just don’t know they need improvement .
- As you continue on the same foot after having placed the nine points, one by one you won’t be the first who might need to slow down and just do as well as you can. Keep encouraging yourself to continue stretching the distances between the toes.
- Next, work with the placement of the Big toe awhile, over and over again. Then at last, (maybe after two to four weeks of daily practice…) you might begin actually walking in that way. After you have practiced enough you can begin to feel that your toes are being sunk into damp cement. Stay bare-footed. If you were to see your footprints as you do on a shore of a beach, all of your toes would seem more elongated than most other, average prints. In the summer, take advantage of looking at people’s toes in their sandals, if you have no beach nearby. An estimate of how many people crunch up their toes might be as much as 90% of average people. Is it because so many of us are greatly stressed out? We all can break that habit with healthy practice.
As you finish placing those points, bend your knee and commit fully with your weight. Trust that you are supported by your nine energy bodies down in mother earth. Make certain the knee bends over the arch, (no more and no less.) Mother Earth offers you her gravity for free. Let her hold you up, and let go of as many muscles as you can. Trust her.
Many people can be so tense when they walk they wind up saying this lie to themselves:”I DON”T HAVE ANY BALANCE.” No person need fall into such a ‘monkey mind’ belief. Just enable yourself to slow down and learn to walk better.
Raven Cohan enjoys writing about the Tao practices she loves to do and teach, (as a certified, Senior Instructor of Universal Healing Tao of Grand Master Mantak Chia.)
She has written dozens of published articles and has been working eleven years on a
book and keeps hoping she will finish it soon. She teaches in Hollywood, in S. Florida. Raven’s upcoming book, will have many more detailed exercises. This article will be part of it. Look at her website at http://www.taoTLC.com for news of its publishing.