It’s Soulful to Leave Your Soles Behind

“Why should we leave our shoes at the  door?” you ask.

Removing shoes upon entering a home or sacred space is an ancient custom practiced throughout the world. It is customary in Asian and Scandinavian countries and in Hawaii to remove your shoes upon entering someone’s home. It keeps the dirt of the outside world out and makes movement within the house quieter.

Think of  all the places where your feet have been on your journey to that door and what they may have stepped on or for that matter, in!  You may have walked across grass sprayed with pesticides, you may have stepped in motor oil that has leaked from cars. If you’ve visited a school, hospital or a doctor’s office, your soles will have picked up bugs from there.  If you shopped in a grocery store, you may have picked up all of the above from all the feet that passed through the aisles prior to your being there. A garage where you’ve had your car repaired will leave chemicals on your footwear. Or if you have walked by a spot where an animal eliminated, well….. Removing shoes at the door is an act of cleanliness.

But leaving your soles at the door is also a spiritual practice. It is a way of showing reverence for something greater than oneself. In Hebrew scriptures, Moses took his shoes off at God’s command. It is written: “Take off your sandals, for you are on holy ground.” Hindus, Buddhists and Muslims remove their shoes before entering a sacred space. For Hindus, shoes are considered impure. Cultured Hindus never wear shoes into their homes, friends’ homes or temples.

Traditional Chinese Medicine believes going barefoot stimulates your reflexology points.

Where we practice yoga, we remove our shoes. We cultivate mindfulness for the place we occupy, we “touch the earth” with our feet and we leave the world outside.



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