January 30, 2019

standing foot placement in yoga


A common misalignment I see in yoga is incorrect foot placement.  If not learned correctly at the foundational level, the issue will follow you around in both standing and balancing postures as well as inversions. Incorrect foot placement will lead to hip and knee pain which often goes unnoticed until later, when serious and irreversible damage has been done.  

So what is the correct foot placement? Looking at this as a general rule and not a case-by-case basis, I would say that anytime your feet are on the mat, they should face the front—not the common heels in—toes out Charlie Chaplin stance I often see. Hip distance apart (rather than the classical feet together) is a better choice for Westerners—especially if you suffer from sciatic pain and tight hips and hamstrings.  When both feet are on the mat in a pose such as Tadasana, the balance should feel even across the feet—without leaning too far forward or too far back. This balance will shift depending on the pose you are doing.  

For today’s key tips and video, we will focus on foot placement in standing postures such as Triangle, where the front foot and the back foot perform different tasks. Please pay special attention to number four.  


  1. Have your front foot face the front of the mat as described above.
  2. As a general rule, you should be able to draw a straight line from the heel of the front foot to the middle of your back foot.
  3. Pause and explore your practice if you have tighter hips and hamstrings.  Take Triangle Pose again but this time draw a straight line from the front heel all the way to the back heel.  Does having more space feel better for your body?  If so, do your standing postures this way until you gain more mobility in the lower half of your body.
  4. A common misalignment with long term consequences that I see is not having the back foot turn inward enough.  When you look back, you should be able to see all of your toes facing forward.  To put this very simply, let’s say you’re doing Triangle pose with your right foot forward.  The toes of your left (or back) foot should be facing the front left corner of your mat.  The popular (and incorrect) choice is when your toes face the back left corner of the mat.  If this misalignment is not fixed, you could end up ripping your groin apart!


Watch the tutorial on YouTube here!




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