In this asana column, we start with the traditional form and alignment of a pose, and then offer three adaptations, to help any body access the benefits of the posture and move safely through sequences and stretches. Here, four ways to find the physical and emotional benefits of High Lunge.
Primary Pose Step-By-Step Instructions
1. From Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog Pose), step your right foot forward toward your right hand.
2. Bend your right knee to make a right angle with your thigh parallel to the ﬂoor and your knee stacked above your ankle.
3. Root into the ground with the ball of your left foot. Press your left heel backward.
4. Draw your right hip back and in toward your left heel. Inhale, lifting your torso and bending your back knee.
5. Place your hands on your hips to support your pelvis as you drop your tailbone toward the ﬂoor while lifting your pubis toward your navel.
6. Rooting down through your right heel, create lift in your abdomen by drawing your belly button up and away from your pelvis toward your back body. Raise your arms up to frame your face. Do this without flaring your front ribs or spilling your pelvis forward.
7. Spin your shoulder blades out and away from your spine.
8. Keeping your tailbone heavy, straighten your left knee —but only to the degree that you can keep your pelvis still.
9. Hold for 5–10 breaths.
10. Release your hands to the floor, and step back to Downward-Facing Dog. Repeat on the other side.
3 Adaptations of High Lunge
Find better balance and a hip flexor stretch that meets you where you are in these three variations of the pose.
High Lunge Adaptations
High Lunge With Hands On Hips
Build the pose as instructed above. With your hands on your hips, ﬁrm your inner thighs and hips toward your midline. This cultivates core stability and balance. Hold for 5–10 breaths, then repeat on the other side.
High Lunge Holding A Chair
Place a chair on your yoga mat with the back facing you. Holding onto it lightly for extra support, step your left leg back enough to allow you to stack your right knee over your right ankle. Hold for 5–10 breaths, then repeat on the other side.
See also A Sequence for Feeling Empowered
High Lunge In A Chair
Sit in the chair facing forward with your feet grounded. Turn your pelvis to the right 90 degrees, and move into a lunge position. Anchor the underside of your right thigh to the seat of the chair. Root down through your right foot and the ball of your left foot. Stay active in both legs by hugging your muscles to your bones. If possible, lift your arms up to frame your face. Hold for 5–10 breaths, return to seated, then repeat on the other side.
See also Low Lunge
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Primary pose instruction: Natasha Rizopoulos is a senior teacher and teacher trainer at Down Under Yoga in Boston. The Ashtanga and Iyengar yoga traditions inform her dynamic, anatomy-based vinyasa system Align Your Flow. Learn more at natasharizopoulos.com.
Adaptation instruction: Ann Swanson has a Master of Science in yoga therapy and is the author of Science of Yoga. Find her at annswansonwellness.com.