Lift your arches.
I've heard it.
I've processed it.
But let's be honest, I've never really got how to do it until NOW.
This weekend I was privileged to attend multiple sessions with yoga therapist, Suzette O'Bryne at the Provincial Fitness Unit of Alberta's Fit Rendezvous conference. I was happy to get up at 6:15 am on Saturday morning as I headed to the first conference session, Yoga Therapy: Restoring Function. Suzette led the group through multiple body compensations that are common in practice.
Although there were many excellent insights from the session, the one I grabbed onto was the whole idea of lifting the arches. Let's be frank, my mountain pose always needs work. I try my hardest on standing straight but over the years of shifting my weight towards one hip, it is a constant struggle to get my posture correct.
I've practiced narrowing my focus to my feet, it's my foundation no doubt. Yet, never could quite get HOW to use my arches along with my toes.
No more questions now!
Drum roll please….it’s the talent of the big toe!
It's amazing to me how textbook knowledge, when not practically applied is lost. I went straight back to my anatomy to figure out just what was going on with my lifted arches.
To my surprise, when I found the muscle at work, flexor hallucis longus, it made total sense! Of course when pressing down on the big toe (hallux) I would be using a flexor! Did I remember that fact from Anatomy 100?
But now it has application!
Essentially, Suzette had us watch our arch when we pressed down or flexed the toe into the ground. Flexor hallucis longus can be seen moving upwards in the arch. Tension can also be felt. Now go on and try it!
I continued to be curious, as all good students of anatomy are, to ponder what other muscle groups are at play with the arches of the feet. Low and behold, tibialis posterior is at work to help keep the arches lifted. I chuckled to myself when I found this information because I’d always wondered how to activate my tibialis posterior. Interesting, as I wear orthotics to support my arches. Maybe my tibialis posterior is lazy and needs some work!
All and all, what a fantastic start to my conference weekend! I constantly was activating my arches all weekend long…on the indoor cycling bikes, during lectures and while throwing around a moveBALL.
To make my week complete, I capped it off with Yoga for the Feet (from you know who, Adriene)!
Keep on lifting my sweet dear arches,
Aspiring Yoga Teacher
I've practiced yoga since I was a pre-teen and have always found it to keep me centered. I will be a teacher one day and this is my journey to discover teaching and practice.