Musings on Barefoot Walking for Birth Prep and Your Wellbeing.
"Walking is a man's best medicine."
'Each time your bare foot steps into the grass, onto the earth it can feel feels as if the earth is holding you'. I said this to my dad recently, and he completed the sentence before I had finished. It confirmed my feelings of this incredible gentle holding.
Each time I do this I feel such a flood of oxytocin, at least that's how it feels, I feel in heaven. Its baffling though isn't it, something so simple such as taking your shoes off, being as nature intended.
To walk outside, in our natural environment, the environment our body is built for, seems to interact so much with different aspects within our body. We breath in phytocides from trees which strengthen our nervous system, we breath in the scent of the soil which promotes oxytocin, The feeling of your feet naked on the earth, stimulates your nervous system, which can aid sleep, mental wellbeing, it can boost your immunity. So many studies have been done if you do little google search! It makes so much sense to me just based on the fact we are designed to be outside.
“The earth is our origin and destination. The ancient rhythms of the earth have insinuated themselves into the rhythms of the human heart. The earth is not outside us; it is within: the clay from where the tree of the body grows. When we emerge from our offices, rooms and houses, we enter our natural element. We are children of the earth: people to whom the outdoors is home. Nothing can separate us from the vigour and vibrancy of this inheritance. In contrast to our frenetic, saturated lives, the earth offers a calming stillness. Movement and growth in nature takes time. The patience of nature enjoys the ease of trust and hope. There is something in our clay nature that needs to continually experience this ancient, outer ease of the world. It helps us remember who we are and why we are here.”
- John O Donohue
So how can this aid your birth preparation? On many levels, as I mentioned about your body will produce oxytocin naturally, the earth beneath your feet will connect with earths natural electrical charge, which creates a negative charge, grounding you, literally 'earthing' you, and recharging your nervous system and immune responses. Being barefoot also promotes antioxidants within us, Admittedly I cannot recall where this knowledge came from but somewhere in my life i have read it and its stuck with me. There is no denying when you walk barefoot the benefits you feel. As well as all the wonders that happen naturally within our bodies beautifully just through the connection to the earth from us being barefoot in nature. There is also the sense of all that your surroundings can do for you when you notice them. It is not only good for your 'elf' (health haha), but nature can really build your sense sense of trust in your body. We are not the only beings to give birth, learn from the world around you. Draw on the strength from the trees, the intuition and lessons of the foxes, badgers, birds. We are not separate to them, and they have lived on the earth long before us. They trust their instincts, so can we.
I live by the South Downs, in Sussex, so this is where i tend to walk barefoot. On this soil I have found the best places for barefoot walking mindfully without the worry of nettles, thorns or stones is on an ancient trackway or often a badgers path. The soft old pathways in the grasslands that have been there for many years and are well used as only soft grasses and small flowers tend to grow there. But a woodland, beach, and other areas where you can walk bare foot and have direct contact with the soil or earth will work. Unfortunately a paved area and concrete wont carry through the earths electromagnetic field as well for your connection.
In winter wrap up warm, you'll be surprised how amazing it feels even on a cold day with frost on the ground. When the ground is frozen the contact can still really nourish you, I found this year it woke me up for the day, it was incredibly refreshing to my soul as well as my body (I do this with my morning dog walk most days). It still felt incredibly nourishing, especially when the sun shines too! The earths charge seems higher when the sun shines, I'm no physic but there must be some link to the earths transmission with the increased energy from warmth and the suns light. A bit like there is within our bodies, heat increases energy flow, it makes sense as we are made of earths elements too.
I shall leave you with this beautiful quote to reflect with when you next walk barefoot.
"With beauty before me, may I walk
With beauty behind me, may I walk
With beauty above me, may I walk
With beauty below me, may I walk
With beauty all around me, may I walk
Wandering on the trail of beauty, may I walk"
- Navajo: Walking Meditation