Lesson of the Month #18 (5/98)

For safety and best results, read instructions before doing lessons!

Flexible Feet

Mobility of the feet, walking, standing, turning

Works with:
Feet, ankles, legs, hips, lower back

1. Lie on your back...scan your body and your contact with the floor...notice how it feels today.

2. Extend your legs...repeat a movement of slowly flexing and extending your feet at the ankles...do it with the legs rolled more outward several times, and with the legs rotated inward a little several times...and rest.

3. Bend your left knee and bring your left foot is standing under the knee...slowly flex and extend the right foot at the ankle several times...do it many times with foreground attention on the ball of the foot moving toward your body and away...then several times with foreground awareness on the heel moving in space...then do it so you roll the right leg inward as you extend the ball of the foot down away from you...then lift the toes and ball toward you as you roll the leg through the middle...and again extend the toes and ball of the foot downward as the leg rolls right...do it a number of times...and stretch out your legs and rest.

4. Change your legs, and repeat #3 on the other side.

5. Combine #3 and #4 so you roll both legs inward and extend the feet down, flex the feet toward you as you roll the toes pass the center, and again point the toes downward with the legs rotated outward...repeat it slowly several times...and rest.

6. Bring your right foot to standing, left leg stretched out...take your right knee from side to side, exploring the easy range of movement...don't let your knee flop, stay in control...then leave the knee in the middle, imagine your foot is pinned to the floor through the ball of the foot, and slowly slide your heel right and left a number of times...your knee wants to move opposite the heel...let that happen, and even exaggerate the movement of the knee a little...feel your ankle bones moving in space...then imagine your heel is pinned to the floor, and slide the ball of your foot right and left...your knee goes in the same direction...feel your ankle bones move in space...and rest.

7. Same position as #6...explore a movement of rolling your right foot inward toward the inside edge...what do your toes want to do?..exaggerate that a little...and explore rolling the foot onto the outside edge...exaggerate the movement of the toes...and rest.

8. Repeat #6 and #7 on the other side.

9. Roll onto your stomach, and lie face down, hands on floor near face...face right, left ear down, and bend right knee so right foot is in the air...which part of the foot is closer to the ceiling, the heel or the toes?...from this position, flex and extend the foot...first feel the ball move up and down in space many times...then the heel...and notice how the ankle bones slide a little backward toward the heel as the toes lift toward the shin, and forward toward the shin side of the lower leg as the toes are pushed down away from the knee...in similar fashion to the way the pivot slides in a groove in a common pair of pliers....do it many times...and rest

10. Same position as #9...lift right foot toward ceiling...right knee stays on floor...make slow circles with the ball of foot in the air...start small, and look for smoothness and ease...change directions and continue...notice the relative motion of the foot and the ankle bones in space...and rest.

11. Repeat #9 and #10 on the other side.

12. Again lie on your back...bend your knees, feet standing...slide the right foot further away and then toward you...the knee goes up and down...let the ankle flex and extend as it would like...gradually make the movement big enough so the leg straightens all the way to extension on the floor, and then as the knee lifts and the foot comes toward you, the foot lifts away from the floor and the knee comes up over your chest...repeat the cycle many times...and rest.

13. Repeat #12 on the other side.

14. Come to sitting, either on the floor or on a hard chair or bench...rest right ankle on left knee... support right ankle with right hand and hold right foot in left hand, and lift foot toward you a little...flex and extend right foot, guiding the movement with the hands...notice how the ankle moves forward and back with the movement...change it and make slow circles with the foot in space...the toes make one circle, and the heel makes a different, connected, circle...and change directions...and let it go and rest.

15. Repeat #14 with the left foot... then stretch out on your back and rest.

16. Bring yourself to standing, and just stand over your feet for a moment...then gently rock from side to side, shifting your weight right and left...gradually feel your body turning with the movement...your feet roll, so as you turn right, you roll onto the outside edge of the right foot and inside edge of the left foot...and as you roll left, you roll onto the outside edge of the left foot, and the inside edge of the right foot...your head and eyes move in the same direction...and gradually make it smaller and smaller until you are still in the center...and just stand, seeing how this is now, over your feet.