Asana Column: Hanumanasana
Lengthening Your Stride
The position often called a High Lunge might also be thought of as a variation of Virabhadrasana I (Warrior Pose I). It intensifies the various stretches you felt in Eka Pada Supta Virasana, because it asks your hip flexors to extend even as they are being contracted. From Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend), bend both knees and step your right foot back until your right shinbone is perpendicular to the floor and the thighbone is parallel to the floor. Fully straighten the right leg, pressing the thighbone toward the heel and then rotating the thighbone internally until your kneecap faces the floor. Then push your hands into your left thigh, lifting your spine from the lower belly and eventually making your spine erect. Next, bend your right knee a little bit to allow the front of your pelvis to lift and your sacrum to drop. Keeping your pelvis in its new upward-facing position, slowly straighten your right leg. This leg-straightening action will intensify the stretch in your right hip flexors.
Square your hips to the front by moving the right side of your pelvis toward your left knee. Lift your inner right thigh more than the outer right thigh so that the stretch is felt across the center of your front right groin. The more dynamically you contract your right quadriceps, the more you will have to lift the lower belly to keep the groin open. Once you have established the basic alignment of the asana, these opposing actions are your primary work. To increase this already intense stretch, you may drop your left sitting bone lower while keeping the rest of the actions intact. After nine to 18 breaths, place your hands on the floor and exhale to bring your right foot next to your left. Take a deep inhalation, and then exhale to step back with the left leg and repeat the pose on the other side. As you do more and more of this Lunge, you'll start to cultivate power in your inner legs. You'll also find your lower back becoming stronger and more aligned. !--page-->