As a part of Vedic philosophy, it has been a tradition to visit temples and holy places bare foot. This wasn’t just for reasons of cleanliness but it also gave the individual to become one with mother earth. In other words, to be able to connect and feel grounded from within.
In Ayurveda and Yoga it has been widely propagated to walk bare foot even for health and well-being reasons.
According to Ayurveda anything and everything is made up of five elements –
Likewise these five elements are divided into our five fingers
- Space – thumb
- Air – index finger
- Fire – middle finger
- Water – ring finger
- Earth – little finger
The above being one of the main reasons we eat with our hands in India, so that when we mix food, we are using all the five elements via our five fingers to help nourish the foods.
Likewise, these five elements are divided into our five toes
- Big toe – space
- Second toe – air
- Third toe – fire
- Fourth toe – water
- Fifth toe – earth
When we walk bare foot, we absorb these five elements via these toes from earth. Hence a nourishing effect on the whole body.
According to Ayurveda, there is an energy channel or Nadi that connects the big toe to the eyes and the brain. Therefore when we walk bare foot, the energies from the earth are absorbed and distributed via this channel to the eyes and especially the brain to keep it alert and active.
Not only that, in Ayurveda we talk about Marma therapy – which is science of prana or life force or nourishing energy that is absorbed into our body via these marma or energy points.
Likewise, on the foot sole there are several marma points that are sensitive and easily absorb prana or energy into the body. Examples of some of the marma points are – heart and lungs related marma point, nerves related marma point, diaphragm related marma point, reproductive system related marma point etc. So when we walk bare foot, the five elemental energies are absorbed via these energy points and distributed to these systems in the body which in turn get nourished and cleansed.
According to Yoga walking bare foot really helps towards gait and balance. Therefore anyone suffering with vertigo, Parkinsons and such other imbalances could aim to walk for approximately 15 minutes. Along with this, it also helps to strengthen the muscles of the legs including calf muscles, Achilles tendon, and thigh muscles. Hence the practice of Yoga with bare feet.
When is the best to walk barefoot?
In Principle any time of the day is good. But the main focus is to walk on natural ground or grass. Ayurveda and Yoga say that early in the morning the atmosphere is nourished with Prana or energy hence this is the best time to take that 15 minute walk out in the nature, barefoot.