Is something a-foot with your yoga feet?

///Is something a-foot with your yoga feet?

Is something a-foot with your yoga feet?

So first up, I really would love to know: Do you like the new website? You know! The whole online thing desperately needed an upgrade to bring us out of the dark ages. But none of that ever comes without hiccups.

We put the new-look website up there. It looked great (so we thought). But dang. I hated it. It got me thinking: What are good looks without functionality? I was OH SO FRUSTRATED that the forum didn’t flow any more. Too much white space. I felt a little lost. The connection between posts was gone … Nobody wants a great looking cover on a crappy book.

Anyway, it’s fixed. It’s now looking heaps better. And it is MUCH easier to use. I hope you tell me what you think. It’s looking great and everything’s in perfect working order… If it’s not, you’ll tell me, right? I am sure that we can do even more to improve it.

Halleluia! Still the same brilliant content! (haha!)

Can the feet really be so critical to a yoga pose? … And your life? Jeepers!

So, your feet. More often than not, people do yoga and have little attention on the weight in the feet. There are so many nuances that have an absolutely frickin enormous impact on your body. Yep. I prolly got your attention there. I don’t have fake-swear in my newsletters! 😉

Here’s what normally happens. You are told to stand with toes and heels together and occasionally you are told to put your weight in your heels in say, a backbend or in half moon. And that my fine yogi friend is about it. Sure the odd instruction to lift the toes or whatever. There are a few distinctions I would like to add to the mix in this post.

You should already know, if you’ve been following my work, read my book ( or spent some time at my free forum (on this website that I strongly believe that ‘toes and heels together’ is not a good standard. It doesn’t fit everyone’s feet. It actually causes problems for many with hip and spine alignment, and believe it or not, your balance. I can pretty much guarantee that if you set your feet up correctly then your practice will improve dramatically.

For the skinny on the regular stuff about feet, go to the home page. There’s a carousel there that cycles through some of my videos (some ancient HotYogaDoctor history. Man, are those videos ageing!). Choose the one called “Great Posture from the Ground Up”.

To add foundation to this fine body of work (a little punny today) there are some interesting very fine distinctions.

Your foot is so complex that there are many places on the sole where you can place the pressure. This happens when you’re walking and when you’re standing still.

Did you know for example that pigeon-toed people lead by placing the weight on the inside surface of their feet when they place each foot down? If you teach those thus afflicted 😉 to transfer the weight to the outside when moving the weight from heel to toes when walking that most problems can be eliminated with practice.

Of course there is more to walking than that. When you actually push off from your back foot (after you have propelled your body forward) the most efficient and physiologically correct place to do that is from the ball of your foot (underneath your big toe). Pigeon-toed people land on the big toe and push off from there. People who walk to support their physiology better, cycle their weight firstly from the heel, around the outside of the foot to end up pushing off from that big toe base.

What the heck does that have to do with yoga?

Well a lot actually. It’s in understanding that weighting the feet differently can affect the reflexes that are used in healthy movement, walking and bodily function that you realise that you can choose to weight feet better to improve function.

I will continue this conversation in another blog post soon(ish). In it I will start you on the path to understanding the incredibly tiny nuances of foot weighting when you’re not doing anything fancy like walking. No, we’ll just look at the mundane standing-right-there-without-movement stance.

Here’s a hint of where we’re going: Did you know that incredibly common spinal deformations can actually be caused by improperly weighting your feet in stillness?

Remember to let me know your wishlist for the new forum or website feedback. We loves to listen!

See you next time!


By |2017-03-18T01:22:29+00:00August 26th, 2015|Hot Yoga Techniques|7 Comments


  1. kfi2000 August 26, 2015 at 9:43 pm - Reply

    I look forward to more on this topic, because I KNOW I have issues from the feet. And it only seems to get worse. My feet are exhausted by the time I get to standing bow! Cramping, probably from gripping with the toes, soreness in the outside of the balls of the feet…ugh. Bunions don’t help either.

    I will be following this closely!

  2. Megan August 26, 2015 at 11:02 pm - Reply

    I have knock knees and after 6 years of practice know that my alignment is out of whack because as soon as I d 5 classes a week I get terrible back pain in my right back where the spare tire sits on the back. I often wonder if I should turn my foot strait out on the pose that’s like a windmill or adjust my foot to match my knee. Also if I should keep feet together when standing.

  3. May August 27, 2015 at 1:31 am - Reply

    Hi Gabrielle,
    Can you also provide us with the link so that we can access your old video on how to stack your weight starting from standing properly with your feet firmly on the ground. It would be easier. Many thanks 🙂

  4. Sara Jones August 27, 2015 at 5:13 pm - Reply

    Hi Gabrielle- I attended yoga teacher training with you and Robert in 2011 in Costa Rica. I love the look of the new website! And continue to have huge gratitude for you and your teaching style. Thank you for continuing to bring up topics that are so important and generally overlooked!!! The human gait is so controversial and I do believe that many people unfortunately cause common body ailments by overlooking this small, but crucial element to proper body function. After years of practicing and teaching yoga, I started feeling most shoes on the market contribute to improper walking and muscle degeneration of the foot. If you don’t use it… You loose it right. Why have huge and stiff arch supports in shoes when the goal should be to strengthen the foot, not allow it to become lazy! So, I went to the internet and have finally found a shoe I am very passionate about and love sharing with people. VIVOBAREFOOT brand is now the only shoe I own. It is very minimal and allows the foot to bend and splay as designed. It also agrees with your description of cycling the weight first from the heel, around the outside of the foot to end up pushing off from the big toe base. The great big toe! Everything is connected. Food for thought friends…. Have you ever considered that tension you hold all the way up in your shoulders has to do with the way you use your feet regularly (standing and walking)?????? Love and Light- Sara

  5. Gabrielle (The Hot Yoga Doctor) August 27, 2015 at 10:41 pm - Reply

    @Kristin… thanks for breaking the ice on our newest blog!

    Thank you everyone for commenting. I hope to shed more light on the subject in the next editions coming soon.

    As requested May, here’s the link to “Great Posture From The Ground Up” my video that talks about feet, function and posture: There’s actually a lot of the foot position and walking information on that video (a little dated and longer than I would make it today but the info is all highly relevant). I would say that is foundation stuff about foundation! I recommend it to many people at the Hot Yoga Doctor forum as one of THE main flagstones of your practice (and of course giving you tools for outside of class. The next blogs will introduce some new information too.

    @Megan I am not sure if we have ‘e-met’ on the forum. It may be the best place to discuss things you can do that would possibly help the issue with your ‘knock knees’. We can work out what you’re doing and whether it’s just the feet or if there are other issues at hand. For those following this conversation we’ll put a link in the comments.

    @Sara Hi Sara! What a lovely surprise. Thank you so much for commenting. Of course I remember you! 🙂 Such an amazing time we had. I am grateful you were there, so happy for the feedback and that you’re HERE! I am sure your students are lucky to share your passion and knowledge. You are completely correct. I believe I mentioned a story in a past newsletter about a woman I met in a shoe shop for ‘comfortable’ shoes years ago. Shoe shopping is a real chore for me because I have extremely narrow feet and it’s rare that I find shoes that fit so when I have the need, I will go to any and every shop. It’s a long and mostly very disappointing process that often yields nothing. Anyway, this woman, had extremely painful feet and was complaining in the store. I was intrigued so I asked her some questions. She was seeing a podiatrist and other people for foot care. I discovered that she NEVER had bare feet anywhere or anytime except for in bed and when she stepped into the shower. That spoke volumes to me. One would think that all professionals would understand the need for using or training or retraining or strengthening the use of the body’s own support systems! Of course there are those that do and the fairly recent availability of new devices that allow that is wonderful. I remember too the predecessors of the shoes of which you speak with the 5 separate toes (which incidentally don’t fit me… arrgh!). Thanks for the heads up on the new ones. I am onto it.

    There is definitely the possibility that tension in the shoulders can be contributed to by things that are happening from the ground up! Can’t wait to share more with you and open an even deeper discussion, hear your views, your ideas and how things work for you.

    Thank you everyone. I love that you dropped by to offer your thoughts and feelings!

  6. Gabrielle (The Hot Yoga Doctor) August 27, 2015 at 10:42 pm - Reply

    Oh, wow, that’s a big smiley! Never expected that. Haha

  7. FERDINAND OKOCH-OKOCH September 18, 2015 at 11:42 am - Reply

    Hi Gabrielle,
    A very good article.I have been struggling with taming my inflamed feet after accident but not receiving quick improvement.My walking balance is poor too as my knees crack.

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