Yes, it’s February. You might think it’s the perfect time to focus on our hearts but nope, we’re all about FEET this month! We asked our PSOD intern, Julia Moser-Hardy , to take some time contemplating this topic. Here are her thoughts on the stable, mobile foot. Enjoy!
“Stand with your feet parallel to each other, about 6 inches apart. Close your eyes. Count your breaths. One, two, three, four. Feel the powerful beat of your heart sending life out into your body, recharging you with every pulse. Descend your attention from your head down to your feet. Sense it drop through the tibia and imagine the base of this most vertical bone settling into the ankle joint.
Exhale. Are you perfectly still? Can you make you perfectly still?
Notice you sway subtly atop this joint, yet you stand stable. Feel the muscles and bones making slight adjustments (tich, tich, tich!) moving into and out of stability. In fact standing the flexed foot closes the ankle joint into its most stable position by bringing to head of the anklebone and the base of the tibia together. Your weight falls as a tripod through the anklebone into your heel and your inner and outermost metatarsal. These three points pass the weight of our drifting body back and forth creating a stable yet mobile base.
As dancers we spend hours building up muscle strength in the ankle to support the joint when it opens to a pointed foot or to stand in relevé. When the ankle joint opens space and soft tissue rushes in between the bones and the shape of this tripod changes, but this change is what our foot is made for. There are 33 joints in the foot. 33 pockets of space that allow the foot to change shape as our bodies move through life. We assume that muscles move the bones, but in truth it is the space inside a joint that allows the bones to respond to the action of the muscles. You need the space as much as you need the stable base.
What about your life? Do you have space in your life to accommodate an unruly metaphorical stone that causes you to trip? Do you have space to move between responsibilities with ease? Or are you budgeted and scheduled right up to where the bones of your life meet head to head? Taking the feet as a metaphor of the co-operation between mobility and stability, the dawn of a new year is the perfect time to set some goals for the year and afford your life an appropriate sense of both space and substance, joint and bone.”