By spreading the toes in a great many yoga postures, we feel stronger, more stable, more grounded, as if by magic. What is the anatomical explanation for this? In answer to this question, which came up just as Sunday morning’s anatomy lecture came to an end, Faith cited the feet’s fascia connections within the Deep Front Line and the Superficial Back Line.
She mentioned the SBL first. Beginning on the bottom of the toes, this line wraps under the soles of the foot, curves up the back of the heel into the Achilles tendon, then splits into the calf muscles. Without getting into too much detail (you can just Google it if you need to know more), the superficial back line runs all the way up the backs of the legs and torso and the neck, over the scalp and crown of the head, winding up at the brow bone.
When Faith used to tell me she needed to work on my SBL, to loosen it up, I’d wonder if it was taut enough to be keeping my face lifted—and what would happen if she, er, released it?
Stretching out the fascia on one end of the line, the theory goes, could potentially free up the muscles all along the entire line, so that they can perform at their very best. A muscle that’s tightly wound up in fascia can’t contract and release as it should, and sometimes this means it won’t fire efficiently. Or at all.
I wondered about the connection of the feet and the pelvic floor. After all, as Richard likes to say, “the feet are the embassies of the pelvic floor,” and feet that are engaged often signal pelvic floor toning.
We were finishing up the day’s class, so there wasn’t much time to really get into it, but Faith pointed out the Deep Front Line, which also begins on the sole of the foot (i.e, the flexor hallucis) and wraps around many parts, including the pelvic floor, all the adductors, the diaphragm, the parietal pleura, and the scalenes.
So spread your toes and open your feet!