Using the whole foot is another one of Nia’s 52 Moves. The whole foot is used for secure stability. It is a powerful base.
Moving on the whole foot or just standing on the whole foot–either on both feet or just one foot allows for the bones in the feet to act as support for the entire body. Stepping or standing on the whole foot can bring rest to either the heel or the ball of the foot. The whole foot stance or movement calls different muscles in the foot and the leg into play. If you are accustomed to standing and/or walking on the balls of your feet, this technique might be a challenge to your leg muscles.
Stepping onto the whole foot encourages a gentle flex in the knee so as to help absorb any shock that might be felt as the whole foot touches the ground.
There are times in a Nia class when we actually dance on the whole foot—you might recognize the whole foot dancing as what Carlos (Rosas now known as AyaRosas) called micro dancing. We use the whole foot to gently slap the earth. Moving around the space. We might stomp, bringing the foot to rest gently on the ground.
The whole foot is the middle of a stride in the heel lead walk. We sometimes will step onto the whole foot instead of the heel or the ball, this as I mentioned, can be a restful for the heel or ball if you normally step on it either. The whole foot can be used in all of the stances.
While you move through your day, be aware of your feet. Notice when you are on your whole foot. Take a moment to shift your weight from foot to foot. Sense the stability and power in your base, in your whole foot.