While riding the subway the other day on yet another delayed train, my attention was drawn to the feet of the woman standing in front of me. Her toes were white from gripping the floor. At first, I thought it was because she was in heels, but when I looked at the toes of her friend in flats and saw that they were also white, I knew that it wasn't from the shoes. They were gripping their toes for balance.
In order to understand what her body was feeling, I tried the posture on for size. When you tense your toes, your whole structure moves forward so there is much less weight in the heels. In order to counterbalance this, the gluteals and deep rotators of the back of the hips engage to bring you back to center.
If you have done bodywork with me, you know that you don't need your toes to balance. The purpose of the toes is to push off the earth to propel the body forward to walk or run. So if the toes are completely unnecessary while standing, why engage them?
Well, because the muscles that are needed to support the structure are weak. The intrinsic muscles need to be strengthened and the extrinsic muscles need to relax. If you are holding unnecessary tension, let's release the patterns that are not serving your structure and create new patterns that will nurture it instead.