A couple of women doing yoga together barefooted.

Practicing yoga is one of the simplest ways to relax your mind and body without the need for so many things. If you’ve seen many yogis or maybe you practice yoga, you may have noticed that it is usually done barefoot. And for a good reason.

If you should ask why you should do yoga barefoot, let me tell you. 

Why You Should Do Yoga Barefoot

While very few yogis practice with socks or shoes on, yoga is best done barefoot to get the most out of the experience. Even your yoga teacher will instruct you to enter the studio barefoot. And if you’re not participating in hiking yoga or have no foot injury or ailment, barefoot practice is a good and beneficial yoga experience for you. 

It helps you connect to the ground and continue the energy flow from your roots to your body while maintaining a stable balance with your yoga poses. And many yogis will tell you that barefoot yoga helps treat and relieve muscle tension, headache, and even insomnia. 

When you perform yoga barefoot, you allow the free flow of electrons in your body that react with the free radicals, boosting your immunity and preventing inflammation. That’s why they say yoga is for the mind, body, and soul. 

Advantages of Barefoot Yoga

Earthly Connection

The primary reason why most people, probably including you, do yoga is to calm your mind and reconnect with the earth and universe. And the best way you can do this is with the soles of your foot firmly planted to the ground.

Most yogis say that doing yoga barefoot helps you soak up the energy from the ground, allowing your body to detoxify. The direct earthly connection relaxes your muscles to help you energize and calm down. 

A couple of women side-by-side doing a yoga pose while barefoot.

Helps with Stability and Balance

If you have done even one yoga pose, you know how important balance and stability are to every yogi. Most yoga poses may require you to plant your feet firmly to the ground to make it easier for you to find your core center and balance yourself.

Yoga practice ideally requires you to properly and equally distribute your weight, which needs the grip of your toes that you can’t achieve when wearing slippery socks or thick shoes. 

Stretch and Strengthen Your Feet

When doing yoga, you’re on your hands and feet almost all the time, and yoga practice gives you an opportunity to stretch and strengthen your foot muscles. When practicing yoga barefoot, the small muscles on your foot will work extra hard to keep your balance, exercising and strengthening even the smallest muscles on your feet. 

Respect and Cleanliness

In some yoga studios, wearing shoes inside is a sign of disrespect to the cleanliness of the place. Wearing shoes invites mud and dirt into the yoga place.

Visibility to Your Yoga Instructor

When you are still in the learning phase of practicing yoga, the basics are essential. And being barefoot helps your instructor clearly see and correct your foot placement and yoga poses to help avoid injury. 

Safe Barefoot Yoga Practice

If you think you are safe from injuries and ailments when you practice indoor yoga, you couldn’t be more wrong. You still have to practice safety measures when doing your yoga stretches and poses. 

Make sure to keep your personal hygiene in check, meaning you must take a quick shower before your yoga session and clean your feet before you step on your mat. And after your class, be sure to clean it (your mat) with the liquid spray or any cleaning material available to you, such as sanitizing wipes. 

But There Are Exceptions: When Not to Go Barefoot

Women stretching on the floor wearing rubber shoes and yoga pants.

It is not all the time that you have to do away with your socks and shoes in practicing yoga. But I’m not referring to the typical socks you have for a typical day. If you prefer or need to practice yoga wearing socks, you will need yoga socks that will give you a good grip of your mat or the floor, hence non-slip. 

Having an injury or ailment that prevents you from practicing barefoot could be a reason why you need to purchase yoga socks. Maybe you intend to do some hiking yoga; then, you will need some flexible-soled shoes to perform the poses. 

Or you could feel insecure or self-conscious when baring your feet at first, but try to move past it and accept your body. Yoga is about relaxation and not about having to worry about anything, not even your feet. 

Types of Yoga Socks

If your doctor or instructor suggests that you wear yoga socks, you should keep in mind that you can’t just purchase the regular everyday-use socks available on the market. Here are the types of yoga socks to help you achieve the best yoga experience.  

Non-slip and Grip Socks

Yoga is all about rooting yourself to the ground with balanced exercise and movements. Without the help of grip or non-slip socks, you do not have the certain level of friction you want with the ground. The grip and non-slip socks help with your stability as you make your stretches and poses. 

Open-toe and Heel Socks

If you do not like wearing closed socks as they may be uncomfortable to you or will not allow you to stretch out your toes fully, open-toe socks will help you move freely. 

Different Sock Lengths

You may think of yoga socks as just those covering your foot until below your ankle. But you can get socks of different lengths, depending on your personal choice. If you prefer covering your calf during some sessions, longer yoga socks will benefit you most. 

From Your Head to Your Toes

A close look at a woman doing yoga poses while on the bow of a boat on barefoot.

Yoga should be a relaxing and peaceful experience for anyone who practices it. Whether you like going barefoot or with socks or shoes on during your yoga session, you must enjoy and make the most out of the moment. But if and when you can, try going barefoot for a more soulful experience.