Leslie explains how in the Western society our feet are generally very weak because we have been spoiled by the fancy cushions of our expensive shoes. Best way to strengthen them? Ditch those fancy air-cushioned soles and go barefoot. [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5_FZdv_LJl0]
Perhaps this is why we find standing balancing postures in yoga so difficult, because we have forgotten how to use those tiny intrinsic muscles in our ankles and our feet. Practicing yoga asanas helps us reawaken and rejuvenate these abandoned muscles.
Luckily for me, I grew up in a "no shoes in the house" environment, so everybody walks barefoot (or at most wearing thin slippers) in the house. To be honest, I don't really like wearing shoes. If not for the dangerous and filthy pavements outside and the occasional "I want to dress up" days, I'd probably ditch them altogether. Being in a yoga studio for at least 2-3 hours a day also has its perks. At least my feet get some exercise everyday! Maybe it is time for me to pull out my hot pink Vibrams again and stop being so self-conscious when I walk in them in public. I haven't yet seen anyone with Vibrams in Sydney (perhaps this city is too hip for that!), so I might as well set the trend here! :-)