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

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