Take a moment to kick off your shoes, remove the socks, and get a good look at those two things at the bottoms of your legs: your feet. Wiggle your toes. Make circles with your ankles. Grab your big toe with the toes of the other foot. Just check them out.
Ida Rolf, in designing the 10-series, deliberately focused her second session on the feet and lower legs. She thought this work second in importance only to making sure the body could obtain and utilize oxygen, which is the project of the first session. The feet are literally one’s connection to the ground. The security of the body, and arguably of one’s psyche, is intimately connected to the quality of the foot’s connection with the earth.
So back to yours. Each of your feet has 26 individual bones, all packed into a relatively tiny package. That space is especially tiny when you consider the size of your entire body that looms over it. Gravity travels through every inch and ounce of you and drives you into your pedes belli (beautiful feet.) And your feet somehow, mysteriously, spring back to give you a lift in your stride, balance in your dance, and lightness in your run.
If our legs are the columns of the body, our feet are the foundation. When the foundation is horizontal and true, the columns can support the building above with satisfying uprightness. Skew the foundation, and the columns twist and tilt, and the security of the entire building is imperiled.
This is how the body works except that the metaphor falls apart when you consider that this building moves and adapts. Dilemmas in the feet, instead of causing you to fall over, simply require the rest of the body to twist, torque and twang as necessary to keep the eyes forward and the organism capable of forward locomotion.
This is why, in the Rolfing 10-series, we must organize the feet before we do anything else (except find the breath, of course.) There’s no sense in replacing the drywall and rehanging the doors if the foundation bucks like a rodeo bronc.
So before you shove them back into those stuffy shoes, send a message of love and gratitude to your beautiful feet. They may look humble, but they’re your connection to Mother Earth and the key to your uprightness. Reaching simultaneously for ground and sky—yet another human folly.