I used to run 5 days a week, averaging 50-60 kms each week.
Those were the days when I did a lot of high impact exercise: at that time I was also playing soccer, ball/ice hockey and doing step class.
Eventually, along with shin splints, I got plantar fasciitis, which caused me a great deal of heel pain. But despite the shin splints and foot pain, I continued my activities, giving in to the age-old “no pain, no gain” mantra and ignoring common sense.
Like many people, I went to see a podiatrist, and was prescribed orthotics. I know there is a great debate about orthotics, but at the time, I gave it a try. For a reason I can’t explain, they made my feet worse. So I ditched them and continued to “suck it up” and told myself that pain would just be part of my relationship to exercise.
Fast forward a year or so, when I was re-introduced to Nia. If you haven’t heard me say it before, I’ll say it again. When I was first introduced to Nia (about 11 years ago now), I decided that it was definitely NOT for me. The concepts of moving “The Body’s Way” (according to the design of the body) and “moving towards pleasure and away from pain” had no place in my exercise world. Back then, I believed that Jane Fonda and all the other fitness gurus knew what was best for my body. I couldn’t wrap my head around the idea that, perhaps, I was the expert in my own body and it’s needs, and not Jane and her entourage.
But in 2006, when I did my Nia White Belt Training, I started to learn how my body was intended to move. It was NOT intended to pound up and down for hours at a time. I learned that in my running, I was actually stepping down first on the ball of my foot and that was wreaking havoc on my whole body.
As I began practicing Nia more, I began feeling my feet and what I was doing (Nia is practiced barefoot so that we can use the 7000 sensory nerves in the foot to sense discomfort and inform our movement choices). Added to that was the fact that I began to use the “heel lead” technique (when stepping forward, land first on the heel, then ball, then toes when stepping forward). Soon enough my aches and pains began to dissolve and I had no more symptoms of plantar fasciitis.
Using Nia techniques, I learned how to diffuse the impact of stepping and to pay attention to my feet and their improve their health and well-being! All while having fun and staying fit!
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Read more about self healing through Nia here