Your feet are telling you a story about your self, about your inclinations and your standing in the world. Interested? There is a body of evidence that says when we think about the future that we incline forward, and when we think about the past, we lean back. It seems that most of us, as evidenced by our posture, are thinking about the future.
The default position of Americans is hips forward with our spines following our pelvis to come under the fronts of our torsos. Can you envision that?
Stand for a moment would you? Notice how your weight is distributed in your feet. If you’re in that default position of spine under your front, your weight is going to be forward in the foot. There has to be compensation somewhere. Your toes may be gripping the ground. Do you find that to be true?
Hips forward, spine sliding under your front, toes gripping the ground, is a recipe for back pain. Bad news. Worse news is that there is not much that you can do for yourself in an overt way. Pulling your hips in toward your back will be more than compensated by tension taken up elsewhere. Please don’t do that. The good news, actually, great news, is that you can do wonders for your self, yes, wonders, by having a nice lie down, resting on the floor or on a massage table in semi- supine, as it’s called in the Alexander Technique.
Lie down on the floor or on a massage table—not a bed—with the back of your head elevated by a couple books, fat or thin according to what feels best. If you’re on the floor, a yoga mat or rug beneath you is necessary. Let your knees bend and your feet rest on the floor near but not uncomfortably near your derriere.
Let your torso become the foot of your body, receiving equally the support of the table or floor. Let yourself remain in this position for 5 to 10 minutes and notice the changes in your breathing. As you go through your day, recall what your back felt like on the table, but don’t make any attempt to enforce or relive it. Just recall it, like you recall your first kiss.
Doing semi-supine work two or three times a day is the best preventive care you can bestow on your self, and it’s cost free. If you want to add some thinking to the exercise, just think: my neck is relaxing to let my head melt out and away from my torso. My back is lengthening and widening to fully receive the support to the floor and my legs and arms are releasing away from my torso. Do an inventory of your joints: toes, ankles, knees, hips, spine, neck, and learn where you can release still more. You’ll arise refreshed and your feet will be telling a different story. What is that story?
Four guys from my graduating class at the American Center for the Alexander Technique composed a moderately bawdy take on a certain Sweet Adeline, who looked divine, semi supine. I’m sure that you will too, especially after you’ve given this procedure a few weeks. It’s a small thing that will mean a lot: multum in parvo. To follow the remaining days of Imogen Ragone’s 30 days of constructive rest, find her on Facebook.