Stay Stable and Agile with Yoga for Your Feet

Beautiful woman practicing yoga's Vajrasana pose or Thunderbolt Pose.

When we’re babies, most of us can suck our toes. As adults, we’re much less intimate with our feet. Yes, there’s a greater distance between the brain and big toe, but we add to our disassociation with years spent walking on flat surfaces in rigid shoes. Why worry? Because it’s not age alone that robs us of balance and sure-footedness. When our feet aren’t stimulated, our brains receive less information and construct a less detailed and less reliable map of the feet. That means we can’t respond as quickly to sudden changes in surfaces and are at a greater risk of falling. The good news is that yoga for your feet can help keep you stable and agile.Baby that can reach his toes very adequately

This “yoga for your feet” series takes your feet and ankles through a wide range of positions. Make this footwork series a regular part of your life, and after a week or two, your standing poses will be steadier, you’ll feel more grounded, better yet, you’ll know and trust your feet again.

As you sit on your heels in Vajrasana (Thunderbolt Pose), pull your inner ankles towards each other.

How to Practice Yoga for Your Feet

  1. Image depicts woman practicing the classic Thunderbolt Pose sitting on the heels.Kneel on your mat in Thunderbolt Pose (Vajrasana), with a yoga block or folded blanket nearby.
  2. Have the sides of your big toes together, and pull your inner ankles toward each other. Make sure that your toes face directly back, that your ankles are in line with your shins, and not bowed out.
  3. Sit back onto your heels and bring your head directly over your spinal column. Sit tall. Release your ribs away from your spine, widen your sternum, roll your shoulder blades back and down.
  4. If you find this position too intense, try putting a folded blanket between your buttocks and your heels.
  5. Stay for one minute or more, with long, soft inhalations and long, soft exhalations.
  6. Stretch open the backs of your toes.
  7. Vajrasana Pose shown with the toes tucked underNow tuck your toes under and stretch the backs of your toes.
  8. Take your hands to your little toes and encourage them to spread further away from your big toes.
  9. Exhale and release your ribs away from your spine, and bring your bodyweight back, so your head is over your spinal column and your spine is over your heels.
  10. If this feels too intense, put a folded blanket under your knees.
  11. Stay for 30 seconds to a minute, with slow, soft breaths.
  12. Balance on your toes.
  13. How to practice balance and stretch your toes in Vajrasana PoseLift your knees and balance on your toes. Again, continue to relax your ribs away from your spine and stay for 30 seconds to a minute, with even breathing.
  14. Bring your heels to the floor and sit in Squatting Pose (Malasana)(last photo below).
  15. If your heels don’t connect well to the floor, let them rest on a folded blanket.
  16. Stay for a minute.
  17. Then make your way back through balancing on your toes, stretching your toes, and stretching the fronts of your ankles in Vajrasana.

Squat on your heels. If they don’t reach the floor, use a chip-foam block or a book to support them.

Looking for More Challenge?Moving into Malasana from Vajrasana Pose

  1. Come back to balancing on your toes, and without letting your heels touch down, stand up.
  2. Still on your toes, bring your arms up into Upward Hands Mountain Pose (Urdhva Hasta Tadasana). Then lower your heels and your arms, and be in Mountain Pose (Tadasana).

Benefits of Yoga for Your Feet

This series stretches and strengthens your feet, ankles, calves, and shins and brings more awareness into your feet. Coming up to standing from being on your toes will improve your balance.

Practice Tips and Cautions

  • Practice yoga for your feet on its own whenever your feet feel weary or deadened by shoes. In a longer practice, do it before standing poses, and stay aware of how much more connected you feel to the ground under your feet.
  • If you haven’t worked much with your feet, this series won’t be comfortable. The pain will diminish if you persevere. Try recasting it as “sensation.” You’ll be surprised how quickly it turns to pleasure.
  • Work slowly and patiently, and use props to extend your time in the poses.
  • If you have knee injuries, check with your teacher before trying this series.


Reprinted with permission from Eve Johnson/My Five-Minute Yoga Practice.
Eve Johnson, writer, yoga teacher

Eve Johnson taught Iyengar Yoga for 18 years before being introduced to Spinefulness in 2016. Convinced by the logic, clarity, and effectiveness of Spinefulness alignment, she took the teacher training course and was certified in July 2018. Eve teaches Spineful Yoga over Zoom and offers an online Spinefulness Foundations course. For course information, go to

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