By spreading the toes in many yoga postures, we feel stronger, more stable, and more grounded. 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, we talked about the feet’s fascial connections within the Deep Front Line and the Superficial Back Line.
First, the SBL. Beginning underneath 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.
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 Freeman likes to say, “the feet are the embassies of the pelvic floor,” and feet that are alive and engaged signal pelvic floor toning.
This took our attention to the Deep Front Line, which also begins on the sole of the foot (i.e., the flexor hallucis longus and the flexor digitorum longus) and wraps around many parts, including the tibialis posterior, all the adductors, the pelvic floor the diaphragm, the parietal pleura, and the scalenes. (See illustration on other blog post.)
So spread your toes and open your feet!