Watch children as they throw off their shoes and dance in the rain or dip their toes into the waves of the ocean. There is a freedom in relinquishing what has bound someone and an expansion to the soul when newness arrives.
This is how I felt in my first barefoot workshop, Sole Training®, in 2010. It was unfamiliar, but I thought, ‘Why not, it’s the end of the convention and a barefoot class sounds nice.’ The lights were dimmed and Stacey Lei Krauss was calmly sitting on the stage. There was a peace and welcoming feeling to the room. We learned about the anatomy of the foot/ankle complex, background and THEN it was ‘footwork’ time. She asked us to stand and spread our toes. Sounds simple, right? I tried…nothing happened. I tried again. With my hands open wide and face clenched in desperation, two toes may have just barely moved. Not satisfied by the lack of strength in these little toes, I bent down to give them a little nudge of encouragement with my hands. ‘Oh great,’ I thought. ‘Now I’m breaking a sweat surrounded by fitness professionals. I mean, I can lift weights with the boys but I can’t manage to simply spread my toes?’ Then it happened…there was a soul connection to this Sole Training® class. A light bulb went on! My journey to wake up my toes and strengthen my feet had begun.
Since the workshop, I’ve learned that it requires more strength and muscle activation to move gracefully and land softly. I have degenerating discs in my cervical spine and pre-barefoot, jogging and even walking would cause neck pain. Landing with grace is a powerful feeling. When the toes spread, muscles activate throughout our entire kinetic chain. Obviously, the ‘toe spread’ hooked me from the get-go. I can proudly say that I now put my former sloth-like toes to shame. I have a sure footedness and my balance has drastically improved.
My soul barefoot benefits:
- Barefoot training has brought a playful freedom to my stride and expanded my capacity for CREATIVITY. One mile into my first barefoot jog, I came across a plush green field surrounded by a fairytale oak tree. In my mind’s eye, I envisioned a child gracefully spinning around. I stopped, checked my surroundings, walked into the grass, turned my music up and with outstretched arms, I spun and spun. Such freedom! Creativity of the body sets the soul on fire.
- I am profoundly impacted by the shared wisdom and COMMUNITY that has formed with being barefoot. Wisdom is sweet to the soul. Free yourself, free others. Just as motorcyclists wave as they pass one another, I seem to do the barefoot wave (with my hand, of course) to other bare-footers. There is an instant connection of like-minds. My community has changed my life.
- My CONFIDENCE has soared due to barefoot training. ‘Funky toe shoes’ draw attention and I love sharing my barefoot testimony of how it’s changed my physical and emotional body. I have run two half marathons in my toe shoes which otherwise I would not have done.
Nature finds pleasure in feeling your bare feet just as your soul delights in a sunrise. Barefoot training has brought balance and surefootedness to my physical and emotional soul.