In martial arts, there is a concept called “rooting”. It refers to ability to keep one’s footing and balance amidst incoming force. There are numerous techniques, but one of the most powerful revolves around visualization and a particular point on the sole of the foot. There is a slight indentation below and to the inside of the big toe called “yong quan”, or “bubbling springs”. Mentally focusing on that point, as if there were roots sinking into the ground, has an incredible effect on the ability to maintain balance and not be moved. I have heard several explanations for this, none of them likely to hold up under scientific scrutiny. I have also experienced it firsthand, and I know that it works.

“When you cease to strive to understand, then you will know, without understanding”.

Many forms of yoga expand on this theme through reflexology. Reflexology uses gentle accupressure techniques on the feet, the hands, and the outside edges of the ears to affect change elsewhere in the body. Charts of the energy meridians and pressure points are readily available. My first experience came through treatment of my hands.

I had been having problems with my lower back and sacrum. A massage therapist, who also happened to be trained in reflexology, offered to try and help…while I was having my hair cut! I was somewhat skeptical, but saw nothing to lose. She worked on my hands for ten minutes or so, then asked me to let her know the next time I was in if it had helped. The following morning, the nagging back pain significantly better. I tried to convince myself, without any real success, that it was just psychological. I was duly impressed.

Most commonly, reflexology is done with the feet. Looking at the charts, the pressure points for hands and feet are very similar. The point for the pituitary, for example, is on the pad of the thumb and also on the pad of the big toe.

There are subtle differences in the two that might suggest one as a more appropriate choice than the other for a desired outcome. The thumb is the primary instrument for administering pressure in reflexology of both the hands and feet. Using the “inch worm technique”, the thumb is walked slowly along a particular energy meridian. Pressure is sometimes applied in a directed circular pattern over a specific point. Flexion and twisting of the whole foot or the toes are also part of the reflexology toolkit.

The basic techniques of reflexology are not difficult to learn. I am fortunate to have a massage therapist who is also trained in various other healing modalities, including reflexology and reiki. She has been very generous in sharing her knowledge with me. I feel no calling to become a healer like her, but I benefit greatly from what she has taught me. Reflexology is something that one can, and should, do for oneself. It is part of the daily practice for students of kundalini yoga. I personally divide my kundalini practice into two parts. The evening portion consists of gentle stretching, meditation, and reflexology.

I would recommend experiencing reflexology first with an experienced practitioner. Learning to do it for yourself is much easier when you know what it’s supposed to feel like.

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