How did I miss this? Barefoot walking as a wonder heal all medicine? I knew in my teens and twenties taking my shoes off and being barefoot was a kind of rebellion, the kind I liked, obvious enough to be a slight on the accepted norm, but not so much as to upset Grandmothers. I also knew it was ’nice’ to feel the earth under my feet and I supposed a connection Gaia. Barefoot is a Kiwi’s (someone born in Aotearoa /New Zealand) birth right. Yet with these little awareness and an actual borderline fetish for shoes the practice of walking barefoot slipped from my day to day life.
It wasn’t until I started skateboarding a few years ago that I noticed how unstable my feet were. I teach Yoga and practice dance, movement as a form of fun and self enquiry and yet I had not notice the decline of my feet and my ability to support and balance myself. So in my forties it all came to a head, a sore neck all the time, a destabilised Sacrum, low low energy and grumpy all the time, in fact that’s the beginning of the list. Now lets get context, I ate very well, I exercised often, I drunk water and I stretched. All of these things I imagined would be enough to keep optimum health, turns out no. I tried many many things to find the switch back into happiness and health and the handful of tools that worked for me and have had the most profound effects are the most simple and one of these, with out a doubt, it walking barefoot on the earth.
My first month of trying this out started in Winter in Te Wai Pounamu, the South Island of New Zealand. It gets cold there and although I met others who could sustain barefoot all day I only managed about an hour. This hour was always magical, I become fiercely aware of the micro movements of my feet in relation to the earth and the transference of those movements into the pelvis and up through the spine. My senses also sharpened, I felt stillness and calm like I hadn’t in a long while. This calmness and activation of the parasympathetic nervous system would come to be more obvious in my daily life as time wore on.
One of the most obvious and interesting things is how I crave this practice, it has some of the pointers that stimulants does. Grounding feels addictive, it could be due to state changing qualities one experiences when one goes barefoot. It enlivens me and I feel happier after doing it. This practice has bought me into a better relationship with the earth and myself and these things are key as we negotiate this tumultuous and awakening times here on planet earth.
The research is mounting and this practice is rapidly becoming scientifically proven to reduce inflammation in the body, All illness comes from inflammation, so as soon as we can start reducing inflammation we reduce the effects of any imbalance in the system. This simple and profound practice could have long lasting effects for this planet and her people. I recommend you go outside now and ground your worries away.
A Kuegler – My Joy Body.