Low Lunge | Anjaneyasana
- Come to an all fours, table top position. Take a moment to bring the knees to hip distance apart.
- Coming up on the finger tips, move the right foot forward to come on the inside of the right hand. Take a moment to make sure the right knee is now stacked over the right ankle and the knee is tracking the middle toes. The back hip will move forward away from the stack of the back knee into a deep lunge.
- There are two options for the position of the back foot. It may feel more stable to have the back toes curled under or you may want to rest on the top of the foot.
- Lengthen through the top of the head to elongate the spine. While pressing firmly into your base.
- Inhale taking the right hand ontop of the thigh and the left hand ontop of that. Take a moment here to find your balance and engage the tummy muscles (thinking of having a corset around the waist and someone is pulling the strings can help to firm up all of the core muscles).
- If you feel that your base (legs, hip and core) are balanced with strength and stability, inhale both arms up, palms facing and lengthen through the finger tips actively towards the ceiling.
- Advanced practitioners can move into a gentle back bend with the breath by sending the thumbs back.
- Repeat on the other side with left leg leading.
The beauty of yoga is everyone’s experience is unique. Below are some of the things I play with as a teacher and a student when I’m practicing a Low Lunge, take or leave whatever feels relevant for you.
Low lunge is a deep stretch into neutral hips (where both hips face foward). I like to ensure that my focus is first on what is going on in the hips, do I feel enough of a stretch, do I feel too much? Does my base feel stable enough that I can raise my arms over head without wobbling. Taking your Low Lunge step by step slowly is important, particularly when you are new to practicing as the hip flexors can be vulnerable in such a deep stretch you want to make sure that your legs are active enough to ensure stability. Once you have established a strong base and you have lifted your hands from the floor think of a long spine. Drawing the naval in will help create space in the lower back so you can open the front of the torso and reach for the sky. Playing with a sense of length as you inhale and grounding firmly into your base on an exhale is my favorite sensation in this pose.
- I am strong
- I am flexible
- I am balanced
- My breath guides me into feeling at ease with my body
- Deep stretch for the hip flexors
- Leg strengthening and toning
- Helps to develop and awareness of the core muscles, while increasing flexibility and stength
- If the back knee is uncomfortable place a blanket under the knees or create a small roll on your mat to kneel on.
- Can be practiced with the hands remaining on the floor if balance is an issue. You can place blocks at the top of the mat to lean on while still lengthening through the top of the head.
- Can be used as a hip opener as well by walking both hands to the inside of the right foot, place the right hand ontop of the knee and come to the outside of the right foot. Repeat on the other side.
- You can play with the position on the hands reaching back for a reverse Kali Mudra is a beautiful chest and shoulder opener.
Using Low Lunge in a Class:
Low Lunge is used in almost all of my classes. It is a great pose to use to build up to the stronger lunges, particularly High Lunge and it is a lovely pose to transition from a cat- cow into or for a more advanced class from a downward facing dog. It can be used with pretty much any theme, anatomically for neutral hips and hip openers, strength and flexibility. It is particularly good for the Root Chakra, Muladhara.
Limbering: Cat – Cow, leg stretches with strap, Thread the Needle Legs, Shoulder Rolls, Side stretches
Complimentary: High Lunge, Intense Forward Fold over One Leg, Chair Pose, Warrior I and Warrior III, Standing Splits, Bridge Pose
Cooling : Seated forward fold over 2 legs, Child’s Pose, Marichyasana III
A full printable lesson plan
for a Mixed Level, Shoulder + Chest Opening Class
can be downloaded here!
Namasté, Alex xx