a blog by Ellen Davies

Why do my feet hurt so much?

Why do my feet hurt so much?
The symbol for the root chakra

Sometimes your feet hurt. And, sometimes, those aching feet can mean something more.

In Forrest yoga they have a saying: your biology is your biography. Meaning, whatever physical pain you have–tight hips, aching low back, weak ankles, etc., can be traced back to trauma, and not necessarily physical injury.


Thus, if your feet hurt, it could be because none of your shoes fit properly, or your feet are pronated, or you’re getting bunions. Or it could mean that you have an imbalance in your root chakra, and you are feeling anxious, unsafe, insecure, uncertain, and/or uprooted.


Given today’s political climate, who isn’t feeling this way? But for me, it has to do with change.


But let me back up and explain. The chakras are the spinning wheels of energy that are located at your spine. They are energetic–they aren’t physical. The first chakra is the root chakra, located at the base of the spine. This chakra also includes the legs and feet.


In Sanskrit, this chakra is called Muladhara, meaning root or base. It is associated with our stability, our security, and our right to be.


Last year, which I now call the Year of Change, we had some major milestones: Rebecca graduated from college and moved to Charlotte, Laura graduated from high school and moved to Virginia Tech, and Stuart and I decided to build a new house and move.


Over the past year, I began noticing that when I taught yoga, I emphasized the legs and feet. As in, press your feet firmly into the floor and feel your connection to the earthh. Other times I emphasized keeping the legs energized, such as in runner’s lunge and extended angle.


It took me a while to realize that I was teaching these cues because I needed to hear them myself. I was feeling ungrounded and unstable, so it showed up in my teaching.


Several months ago, I noticed that my feet were bothering me. A lot. It started with our trip to Paris last June. When I was packing for the trip, I realized that I don’t own many shoes. No, really! Compared to the average woman, I have hardly any shoes. I spend most of my days at home, barefoot, and when I go to teach I’m wearing either boots or my Nike Frees.


When I do wear real shoes (and Stuart loves to tease me about the East Tennessee girl who is always barefoot) they tend to bother my feet. They aren’t very comfortable. After a short time, I long to take them off. Wearing heels is torture. And I used to live in heels! I could run in heels, back in the day.


In Paris, we walked everywhere, with my step counter climbing up to 13,000 each day. I know that when Stuart says, “It’s not that far to walk,” an hour later–we’re still walking. And thus my feet hurt. A lot.


Last fall, Stuart and I visited Laura at VA Tech. Soon after we arrived, Laura took us on a walking tour of the campus. It felt great to take a long walk after seven hours in the car. But I could barely keep up, because my feet were hurting so much. The next day we planned to go hiking, and I had to beg off. I couldn’t do a seven mile hike with my feet hurting like that.


I’m telling you this because it took me until just yesterday to realize that these foot problems are my root chakra issues. These are my anxieties and insecurities showing up in the physical body.


My foot pain is real, but it does help to know that it’s caused by the uncertainty and stress in my life right now, as we get closer to moving day. However, I also know that I can’t just shrug it off–if it gets to the point where I need to see a doctor, I will.


In the meantime, I’ll keep monitoring it. But I will also meditate more on feeling secure. I will continue to emphasize my feet–feeling my connection to the earth, pressing down into the earth to rise up higher. I will remind myself that this is an uncomfortable growth phase, and it won’t last forever. I will remind myself that I already have all knowledge and power to get through this phase of my life. With God’s help.


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