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From the Bottom up: Yoga for Your Feet

From the Bottom up: Yoga for Your Feet

Like any part of your body, your feet have muscles and tendons that need stretching and strengthening. The Western habit of spending very little time barefoot can weaken them, especially if you wear constrictive or ill-fitting shoes. Fortunately, your yoga practice is a great place to work your feet.

For many students—you might have been one of them—being barefoot (or in your Yoga Paws!) in yoga is a learning experience in and of itself. Maybe you were surprised at how much harder it is to balance when you don’t have a gym shoe holding your foot in place—or maybe your ankles felt like jelly. The flexibility of your feet and ankles makes them articulate enough to roll from point to flex and handle the lateral movement of twisting and turning accompanies daily life.

The best—but not often the easiest—way to get back in touch with what your lower extremities can do is simply to think about them as you practice. Often, it’s tempting to focus on where your arms and legs are going that you lose awareness of your hands and feet. So, as you go through your next class, think about using your feet in each position—where they are, what their path is to the next pose, how they affect the rest of your body and whether you are properly aligned over them (not rolling in or out or back on your heels). Here are some poses to try:

Tadasana (Mountain Pose)

Benefits: This simple standing pose allows you to concentrate on what it feels like to have your feet aligned on the ground, and provides a foundation for more challenging foot positions.

How to do it
: Stand with your big toes touching and your feet slightly turned in. Engage your inner legs from your arch to your hip. Feel all four “corners” of your feet (inside and outside of your toes and heels) in contact with the mat. Allow yourself to shift your weight until you find that point—you may favor one foot or have your weight too far forward or back. Once you find that balance point, remain in the pose for 30 seconds to one minute.

Virasana (Hero Pose)

Benefits: This pose stretches the arches of your feet and lengthens the front of your ankles.

How to do it
: Kneel on your mat with your knees touching, lower legs wider than your thighs. On an exhale, begin to sit down. Use your hands to move your calves to the side and sit down between your legs. Place a folded blanket under your buttocks if you need to. Remain in the pose for 30 seconds to one minute, working to stay longer as you grow in the pose, up to about five minutes. Release.

Virasana (Hero Pose)—modification

Benefits: Rolling your toes under in this pose stretches the arches of your feet, which often get stiff after being in shoes.

How to do it
: Kneel on the floor. Curl your toes under so that the bottoms of your toes are on the mat. Sit back on your heels. Remain in the pose for 30 seconds to one minute.

Toe Stretch

Benefits: Tight shoes and immobility can make it difficult to move your toes. This stretch can help.

How to do it
: Sit down. Take the ends of your fingers and thread them through your toes. Gently move your toes for a few breaths, then repeat with the other hand and foot.

Ankle Circles

Benefits: Moving your feet through different planes of movement strengthens and stretches your ankles.

How to do it
: Begin in Dandasana (Staff Pose). Bring your toes toward the ground, then out to the sides, then back toward your hips, then in to each other. Repeat five times, then reverse directions. Repeat two or three times

When you are trying to focus on your feet, it helps to envision a line of energy extending from your hip to your toes. Don’t “grip” your thighs at the expense of letting your calves and feet become disengaged. Instead, think of activating your feet. YogaPaws are also wonderful for the feet by giving you extra padding and support when doing yoga. Keeping you locked in place to spread you happy toes. :)

Written By YogaPaws LLC - "The Yoga Mat You Wear"


Yoga Paws LLC is a mother/daughter adventure which started in 2001 and officially in launched in 2003. Gail (mother) and Jamie (daughter) Getzwiller share a love for travel and yoga which lead to a natural development of the YogaPaws. Over the past 8 years they have embarked on a journey of love and working dedication to produce the best "Paws" possible. Yoga Paws have been a product and company that cares about spreading the love and allowing all the yogi's around the world to enjoy as non-slip practice Anytime Anywhere. :)

YogaPaws are non-slip yoga gloves worn on your hands or feet, staying true to their logo "The Yoga Mat You Wear." YogaPaws function perfectly on any surface, keeping you secure in every yoga pose. Check out YogaPaws today at

Try the following YogaDownload classes today to open your feet:
Hot Yoga 2 - Lauren Pech

Gentle Hatha 2 - Jackie Casal Mahrou

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