The humble, lowly feet, at the very base of the whole body, like beasts of burden are expected to bear our weight and everything we carry day after day, year after year. They bear this weight while standing, walking, skipping, hopping or running, but are rarely thought about until something goes wrong. With a little yoga forethought we can prolong the health of our feet and hopefully they will see us through without complaining.
The way we stand on our feet has repercussions in the knees, hips, spine, shoulders and neck. For the health of the whole body we should stand evenly on our feet. In the feet there are three points to spread the weight amongst. They are the centre of the heel and two points on the broadness of the foot. One in line with the big toe and one in line with the little toe. When our weight is evenly distributed in this way we have a solid and well grounded base to stand upon. People who tend to weigh down into the inside or outside of the foot not only lose the support of their arches and develop bunions, but also can develop problems in their knees, hips and spine because of the uneven support. Putting uneven weight into the front and back of the feet will have another set of problems for all those joints. When wearing high heels we cannot help but put the weight to the front of the foot which means to stand up straight we have to add more of a lumbar curve and potentially painfully compress the lumbar vertebrae.
After we have identified and activated these three points then we need to activate the arches between them. There are three arches in our feet: one across the broadness, one from the little toe side down to the heel and one on the big toe side down to the heel. When we activate these arches we create a lightness in the feet which sends messages up to the knees and hips to help bear some of the weight too. In other words by activating the tripod (pressing down into the three points and lifting the three arches) muscles around the knees and hips are activated. This brings the legs and feet into their ideal alignment.