I was intrigued by proprioceptors, since I had never heard of such of thing. According to Wikipedia it is "is a third distinct sensory modality that provides feedback solely on the status of the body internally. It is the sense that indicates whether the body is moving with required effort, as well as where the various parts of the body are located in relation to each other." Nerve receptors in the muscles send information to the brain so that it understands where the body is located in space without using visual information. This is how you can walk in the dark without falling over or, with a little practice, touch the tip of your nose with your index finger while your eyes are closed. Or type without looking at your fingers, or drive without seeing your feet on the pedals. Important stuff.
Like most motor skills, it is one that can be learned. So I thought I'd post a little exercise to bring awareness into the soles of the feet. Where you go from there is up to you...Vrksasana (Tree Pose), Garudasana (Eagle), Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana (Standing Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose). If you really want to challenge yourself, try them with your eyes closed!
Grounding Thru the Foot Bones
Stand in Tadasana (Mountain Pose). Lift all your toes at once, and feel the rest of the foot settle into your mat. Now lower just the big toes. Now lift the big toes and just lower the little toes. Now lower the big toes, but keep all the toes in between lifted. Is this easy or hard? You can help yourself a bit, by mimicking the actions of the toes with the fingers (I don't know why this helps, but it does). Now lower all toes, so that each one has its own space to settle and notice how much more solid your stance is.
I like to start all my standing poses with this exercise, just to get the feet grounded, but also to help make my toes more coordinated. I even try to drum my toes, little to big toe--one at a time--in imitation of my son. I notice my 3 1/2 year old has so much mobility in his toes, he could play the piano! I'm not looking to add more digits on the keyboard, but I suspect that drummable toes equals well-tuned proprioceptors.
Ankle and leg strength also play an important part in your ability to balance. But the sole of the foot is the starting point. Give it a try and see!