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.

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 rather than 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, 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.

I would strongly suggest you began your exploration of the feet by lifting all your toes every time you practice. Most days, I still practice with lifted toes for two reasons: it has helped to strengthen the ankle I once broke, and it helps me “feel” my feet. I first did this subconsciously when I started practicing, as I kept seeing yogis around me falling when attempting balancing postures.

As I’m naturally curious, I wondered what it would feel like if I lifted my toes. So I tried it—and liked it!

Remember that the feet are the “Uber” of your body. They take you everywhere—so you better be nice to them!