Yoga Journal

Better alignment from the ground up

YOGA TEACHERS ALMOST UNIVERSALLY ADVISE their students to place their ankles and big toes together or line up their feet under their hips with the outside edges parallel to the edges of the mat—in Tadasana (Mountain Pose) or Utkatasana (Chair Pose). The most anatomically inclined teachers urge students to align their feet so the second toes are pointing straight forward, positioning the tibias (shin bones) relative to the feet.

While aligning your feet in these ways may seem like a good idea, especially if you are splay-footed or pigeon-toed, it could cause long-term damage to your knees, other joints, and lower back. Here’s why—and how you can avoid it.

Foot and leg anatomy

Your legs technically start from your

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from Yoga Journal

Yoga Journal16 min read
Get Lost
The teachings of yoga migrated West thanks to early globetrotters such as Paramahansa Yogananda and Indra Devi. Today, teachers and practitioners alike can use mindful travel to deepen awareness and broaden their practices. India, the birthplace of y
Yoga Journal3 min read
Along For The Ride
I was a burnt end, a frayed electrical cord, a tea kettle whistling on the stove just about boiled dry. I’d been working two jobs for a decade, and I found myself in the paradoxical position of having a little extra money and zero joy. Snippets of fr
Yoga Journal2 min read
Lessons from Ancient Temples
Two years ago, as I was nearing 30, I found myself completely lost, out of a job after nearly 10 years in an industry that I had (for the most part) loved. I’d been bullied out of my corporate job by my boss, a man who told me I was a distraction whe