Yoga newbie...but foot pain?


Hi everyone,

I’m brand new to yoga - only done 2 sessions so far. I find that when I practice yoga my feet (especially my arches) feel like they’re on fire, so much that I have to pull out of the pose. I have been doing yoga barefoot, but should I think about trying it with shoes. My yoga mat is also very, very cushy - could it be too thick and soft?

Thanks for the help!!


With any medical issue it is advisable to seek a qualified medical practitioner.

Common arch pain is often a sign of degeneration of the plantar fascia a thick band of collagen fibers that run from the ball of your foot to your heel bone.
There may point out a heel spur or biomechanics such as gait issues.

Now what kind of treatments are among what you might expect for rehabilitation?

RICE Rest after effort ice the area and elevate the area as a tried and true method for many sports related injuries.

Alternating with heat before exertion may be an option to consider as well.

Orthoc heel inserts may be recommended and these may even be covered by your medical plan.

A plantar fasciitis night splint may also be recommended to gently stretch the calf muscles and plantar fascia to prevent them from tightening up overnight.

A qualified sports injury professional may also recommend or administer massage efforts and monitor your gait running and walking style and even footwear to see if there are any other efforts that are exacerbating your situation.

A Doctor may prescribe anti-inflammatory medication and/or topical analgesics.

What kind of stretches might a qualified medical practitioner recommend?

Rolling a tennis ball or bottle or other efforts are common rehab methods for manipulating the plantar fascia.

Stretching the plantar fascia calf muscles (Gastrocnemius muscles and Soleus muscles) will likely be recommended by most sports injury professionals.

Calf muscle work is key. You probably have seen these stretches against a wall with bent or straight leg respectively or the toe braced against the wall or post. Heel down!

I believe the latter efforts are really going to be key to pain free yoga. Beware of any calf stretch efforts where the heel is off the ground as these insidious efforts have fallen out of favor. They feel great but can exacerbate the problem. Hope that gives you a head start toward pain free yoga. Namaste


Hello GG,

For me, as a yoga teacher, I need additional information about you and your practice before offering directive feedback. I would not, however, advocate wearing shoes for the practice of asana (postures).

While you are composing information about you - your age, health, fitness background, please also outline the sort of practice you are doing (is it fast, repetitive, changing poses every second breath or slow, methodical, remaining in poses for 90 seconds) and in what poses you are experiencing the fire of the feet. Is it in all standing poses, in balancing poses (one leg), lunges?

Finally, please provide some additional feedback about the discomfort. Do you still have it after class? The next day? Or do you only experience this in posture? Is it gone once you exit the pose?

Once there’s a more robust picture painted by you I can provide you with more focused feedback.


Hmm… I was randomly searching for arch pain issues and ran across this…

I occasionally get arch pain during longer sequences that involve one legged balance poses. I’m a rock climber and do power yoga/vinyasa flow 5-6 times a week.

I was just in a seminar where Bryan Kest had us on one leg for 5-7 minutes and transitioning throughout various poses during that time on every 3rd breath. I had to come down once or twice because my arch would really start to get painful… not sure how to develop my arches further?


I had plantar faciaitis it was agony, but not so much in my arches as the heels of my feet. It lasted ages, the only thing that really worked was seeing a podiatrist who fitted me with insoles to help correct the biodynamics of my feet, she also gave me some exersises that would differ slightly from person to person depending on their biodynamics.
It all worked within two weeks after no joy for months on end. I did wear dance shoes, with a shop bought insole, to do yoga, I simply couldn’t have continued do do hatha yoga without it, and the podiatrist felt this was likely to help not hinder. The podiatrist suggested that I was lucky to have done yoga as it prompted the pain before the particular prolems with the shape of my feet, transferred through my body,knees, hips, spine etc, as the rest of the body will compensate for pain in the feet, so it is important to get a referral from your doctor to a qualified podiatrist.


If the temperature in the room is not so high and you are practicing barefoot, then the cold may induce some pain the feet. Practicing barefoot in the summer is ok, but in the winter we advice our students to wear socks.
It also could be helpful to press all toes with all fingers, when practicing forward bends. There are reflection points on the feet. But this is not the classical way of holding the feet with forward bends.


I, too, was very hard in the first classes. It seemed that mine were just missing after them. But now I have been doing this for a year and a half and am very happy!