Pada Bandha: 5 Key Benefits Of The Yogic Foot Lock & 7 Easy Steps To Practice It

reviewed by Liz Burns 500H RYT
Last Updated:

Pada Bandha, a specific kind of energy lock practiced by yogis for centuries, is believed to have numerous benefits for the body and mind.

Connecting and grounding the yogi to the earth through the feet, and a key element to stability in many poses, this will certainly be a technique that’s beneficial to your practice!

Keep on reading to explore:

  • What Is Pada Bandha?
  • 5 Key Benefits
  • Who Should Practice It?
  • 7 Steps To Activate It
  • Specific Yoga Asanas To Practice
man touching hands to the mat activating pada bandha

What is Pada Bandha? Bandhas in Ancient Yogic Texts

Pada Bandha is a Sanskrit term that means “foot lock”, a yogic energy lock that involves engaging the muscles of the feet and legs to create a lifting and spreading sensation through the soles of the feet.

This lift helps to activate the muscles of the legs, which can help to stabilize and support the body in various yoga poses. The practice of Pada Bandha is believed to activate the flow of prana or life force energy in the body and stimulate the nervous system.

Pada Bandha is considered to be a minor Bandha, along with Hasta Bandha, the Yogic hand lock.

It complements the practice of other major bandhas or yogic energy locks, including the three most famous Bandhas Mula Bandha (pelvic floor), Uddiyana Bandha (abdominals up to the diaphragm), Jalandhara Bandha (throat).

Bandhas have been mentioned in several ancient yogic texts like Hatha Yoga Pradipika, one of the most important texts on Hatha Yoga, and Gheranda Samhita, another ancient text on Hatha Yoga.

woman with her feet on the sand

Pada Bandha, though often overlooked by many yogis in their practice, holds a significant value that is often underestimated. While we may perceive our feet as a single entity, they are, in fact, a complex structure composed of 26 bones, 20 muscles, and supportive tissues.

The way we utilize our feet has a profound impact on various aspects of our body, ranging from ankle stability to spinal alignment.

Within yoga practice today, practicing barefoot is customary as it allows us to fully engage and activate all the intricate components of our feet.

Neglecting this practice by confining our feet in shoes (similar to how we put on headphones and cover our ears) can hinder our yoga experience and potentially lead to injuries.

Moreover, the manner in which we involve our legs in Pada Bandha directly influences the pelvic floor, which, in turn, is connected to our abdominal muscles.

By consciously activating Pada Bandha, you may discover an enhanced ability to engage Mula Bandha and sometimes even Uddiyana Bandha.

woman in triangle pose outside in the sunset

5 Key Benefits of Pada Bandha

Practicing Pada Bandha, or foot lock, in yoga can offer several benefits. Here are five key advantages you can experience through regular Pada Bandha practice:

1. Enhanced Stability

Pada Bandha helps to cultivate a strong foundation by actively engaging the muscles and tendons in the feet.

This increased stability provides a solid base of support, allowing you to maintain balance and steadiness in various yoga poses and daily activities.

2. Improved Alignment

By consciously activating Pada Bandha, you encourage proper alignment throughout the body.

This alignment begins from the foundation of the feet, creating a ripple effect that promotes better posture, spinal alignment, and joint stability. It can also reduce the risk of injuries caused by misalignment or overcompensation.

class of yogis in lunge pose

3. Increased Body Awareness 

Pada Bandha practice deepens your mind-body connection by drawing your attention to the sensations and subtle movements in your feet.

This heightened awareness extends to the entire body, fostering a greater sense of proprioception (awareness of body position) and kinesthetic intelligence.

4. Energy Flow and Pranic Activation 

Pada Bandha facilitates the flow of energy (prana) through the body’s energy channels (nadis).

By grounding and channeling energy through the feet, Pada Bandha helps to activate the lower energy centers, invigorating the entire system and enhancing overall vitality.

5. Enhanced Flexibility and Strength: 

Regular Pada Bandha practice can improve the flexibility and strength of the muscles, tendons, and ligaments in the feet and ankles.

This increased flexibility can enhance your ability to move fluidly through yoga asanas, while the strengthened foot muscles provide a solid platform for various weight-bearing activities.

woman in goddess pose on tip toes

Who should practice Pada Bandha? 

Pada Bandha, or the yogic foot lock, can be beneficial for a wide range of individuals. Here are some groups of individuals who may benefit from practicing Pada Bandha:


Pada Bandha is an important aspect of many yoga practices and can help yogis deepen their practice. By connecting with the energy in the feet, yogis can improve their balance, stability, and focus in their asana practice. 


Athletes, especially those who participate in sports that require quick changes of direction such as basketball, tennis or badminton, or jumping, can benefit from Pada Bandha.

Strengthening the muscles in the feet and ankles can help to prevent injuries and improve performance.

Individuals with foot pain

Pada Bandha can help to alleviate foot pain by strengthening the muscles in the feet and improving circulation. Individuals with conditions such as plantar fasciitis, flat feet, or fallen arches may benefit from practicing.

person rolling their feet on a therapy ball

Individuals with balance issues

Pada Bandha can improve balance and stability by strengthening the muscles in the feet and ankles. This can be beneficial for individuals who struggle with balance issues due to conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, or stroke.


Incorporating Pada Bandha into your yoga practice or daily routine can help to improve your overall health and well-being.

By strengthening the muscles in the feet and ankles, improving circulation, and enhancing balance and stability, Pada Bandha can help you feel more grounded, energized, and connected to your body.

7 Steps to activate Pada Bandha

Activating Pada Bandha is a simple but powerful technique that can be incorporated into any yoga practice. Here are some steps to help you connect with and cultivate Pada Bandha:

  1. Stand tall in Tadasana (Mountain Pose) with your feet hip-width apart and parallel to each other.
  2. Spread your toes wide and press them down into the ground, feeling the arches of your feet lift.
  3. Find an even weight distribution between all four corners of your feet by rocking forward into your toes and back into your heels; then from the outer edges to the inner edges. Do this a few times until you find your balance.
  4. Soften your knees gently, then press your feet into your mat and straighten your legs while you firm your thighs and lift the inner seam of your legs – right from your inner ankles all the way up to the inner thighs. 
  5. Draw your belly button in towards your spine to engage your core
  6. Let your tailbone drop downwards slightly while allowing the rest of your spine to lengthen upwards. 
  7. Keep this engagement for 5-7 breaths while maintaining a smooth and steady breath in and out, feeling the lift and spreading sensation through the soles of your feet. Release and repeat as desired.
smiley faces on someones toes

4 Basic Yoga Asanas to Harness the Energy of Pada Bandha

There are several yoga asanas or practices that are ideal for you to practice to harness the energy of Pada Bandha. Here are four beginner-friendly Yoga Asanas for you to try:

1. Tadasana (Mountain Pose)

  • Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart and parallel to each other.
  • Spread your toes wide and press them down into the ground, feeling the lift in your arches.
  • Engage your quadriceps and draw your belly button in towards your spine. Hold for several breaths.

2. Vrikshasana (Tree Pose)

  • Stand tall in Tadasana and bring your right foot to rest on your left inner thigh.
  • Press your foot into your thigh and your thigh into your foot, feeling the lift in your arches.
  • Engage your core and lengthen through the crown of your head.
  • Hold for several breaths before switching sides.
woman in tree pose by the sea

3. Virabhadrasana I (Warrior 1 Pose)

  • From Tadasana, step your left foot back and turn it out to a 45-degree angle.
  • Bend your right knee and keep your left leg straight, pressing the outer edge of your left foot into the ground.
  • Engage your core and lift your arms overhead.
  • Hold for several breaths before switching sides.

4. Garudasana (Eagle Pose)

  • Stand tall and lift your right leg, crossing it over your left thigh.
  • Cross your left arm over your right arm, bringing your palms together.
  • Engage your core and press the soles of your feet into each other, feeling the lift in your arches.
  • Hold for several breaths before switching sides.

Aside from these fundamental poses, you might enjoy engaging Pada Bandha in more advanced asymmetrical balancing poses which include:

Half Moon, Warrior 3, Standing splits, Bird of Paradise and Sugar Cane pose, as well as fundamental symmetrical poses like downward facing dog.

person touching their hands and feet to the mat in pada bandha

Other tips to engage your feet:

Engaging Pada Bandha in poses like tadasana can help awaken your feet and train your arches to become stronger. Other things you can to awaken your feet try include:

  • Scrunching a piece of cloth or towel with your toes to activate the toes of your feet
  • Walking barefoot as much as possible to activate the proprioceptors
  • Rolling your foot with a tennis ball to release tightness in the muscles and tendons
  • Doing heel and toe raises to strengthen your calf muscles and metatarsals


Incorporating Pada Bandha into your yoga practice can help you to improve balance and stability, reduce foot pain, increase ankle strength, and improve circulation.

By connecting with and cultivating Pada Bandha, you can tap into the energy within your body and deepen your yoga practice.

The next time you stand, walk, run or practice Yoga, use this as an opportunity to practice Pada Bandha and enjoy the benefits it brings for your body and mind. 

More on Bandhas:

Photo of author
Wenlin is a Women’s Well-being Coach, Qigong and Yoga specialist for women and Red School Menstruality Mentor who is passionate about empowering working women to overcome overwhelm to find flow, ease and joy in their life. Wenlin brings with her over 15 years experience working at the intersection of mindfulness, creativity, psychology and wellness, with over 3,000 hours of training and 8 years of experience supporting women across Asia, Europe and the USA. If you want to learn how to find more flow and ease in your life, Wenlin is here to support you.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.