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THESE FEET ARE MADE FOR WALKING

By Jay Chatterjee & Roshmi Raychaudhuri
 

Walking is an activity recommended highly by every health cognoscenti, and one we all take very much for granted.

Consider the highly complex processes that it involves. Did you know that the simple act of lifting a leg to take a step forward activates as many as 40 leg muscles? That one walking step pulls into activity almost 200 muscles of the body? A domino effect follows; back, shoulder and chest muscles bunch and pull back to stop you falling flat on your face, the abdominal muscles work in reverse to keep you from falling backwards; your mind has to calculate the spatial relationships between your body parts, in a series of sensory transmissions and registrations of information passed through the central nervous system. With every step taken, this same flurry of activity is repeated, over and over again.

Watch a toddler take his first steps, and you will realize how difficult it actually is. Is it any wonder that a series of steps (walking) is one of the best known ways to burn up calories?

In the same way that we take every familiar object for granted, so, too, we do our feet. The feet are designed for weight bearing and for locomotion. Twenty-six bones placed together in a marvel of precision engineering, provide both a stable foundation, as well as shock-absorbers for the body frame. Any imbalance in alignment can have serious repercussions on our total well-being. If the foot collapses or twists, the strain travels up into the hip joints and lower back, causing pain and discomfort. Distorted walking, caused by ill-fitting footwear, can develop into a chronic ailment.

Every step, if you're not in perfect alignment, would force the muscles to work harder. And, if you don't keep mobile, you may gradually lose your flexibility. Tight muscles get tighter and more rigid; weak muscles get weaker and lose their tone. Because muscles act as the body's natural shock absorbers, inflexible muscles become vulnerable to pulls and tears, and may also cause friction in the joints, leading to other ailments.

A sure fire way of keeping the feet flexible is to practice a couple of incredibly simple yoga exercises. Don't let the simplicity of the motions fool you; they are extremely powerful.

The first yogic movement is known as "Tadasana". Stand with your weight evenly distributed on both feet. Raise you arms over your head, interlocking The fingers with the palms turned out towards the ceiling. Raise yourself on your toes stretching your arms upwards to their utmost. Hold for a moment, Before returning to the starting position. Breathe out on the up-motion; breathe in when you come down. Repeat this 5/10 times.

Build this second yogic "suppleness-builder" into your regular regimen too. Sit on the floor with your feet stretched out in front of you, and your spine straight but relaxed. Point and stretch your toes downwards as far as they will go (you will feel a stretch on your instep). Hold for a moment, and slowly curl them backwards towards your body (you will feel a stretch on your calves). Breathe out as the toes stretch outwards; breathe in on the reverse movement.
Repeat 5/10 times.

And, finally, here is a simple awareness building pre-meditative technique, known as "Chakramanam", which works somewhat like a walking meditation! Go for a long walk. You can choose a pace you are comfortable with, as long as you maintain a consistent rhythmic gait. Your gaze must be directed at your feet, and your mind must be turned off from your surroundings (don't practice Chakramanam walking down to the grocery store!). As you walk, chant the "OM" mantra, synchronizing it with the movement of your feet. Be unaware of anything other than the rhythm of the mantra and the movement of your feet. Relaxed and effortless movement is the essence of this yoga.

After all that walking your feet may need some pampering! Green tea, Geranium oil and Tea Tree oil have anti-germ and anti-bacteria properties, making them excellent balms for the feet. Use these natural ingredients to also arrest common foot problems such as foot odor and Athlete's Foot (a fungal infection which thrives in damp environments). The tannic acid from the tea kills foot odor, so a quick solution for fresh feet would be a regular soak in a bowl of water to which brewed tea has been added.

So, have we helped you to get back on your feet again ??

*** by Jay Chatterjee & Roshmi Raychaudhuri

About the Authors:

Jay Chatterjee, a Chartered Accountant and ex-Corporate Banker, lives in Canada. 
Roshmi Raychaudhuri is a business-woman residing in India. They have shared a longstanding and keen interest in the effects of natural therapies. On a trip to the Himalayan foothills, they came across an ancient anti-aging and body rejuvenation system based on stimulation of the hormonal glands. They have put this information on their website for the world to share. 
If this subject interests you, please visit their website

Copyright Jay Chatterjee & Roshmi Raychaudhuri . All rights reserved. Permission is granted to print/publish the above article provided that it is printed in its entirety, including the resource box giving details of the authors, the website, copyright & this permission.


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