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Lengthens your hip flexors; stabilizes and strengthens your gluteals.
1. From Tadasana (Mountain Pose), widen your stance so that your feet are hip-width apart. Take a few moments to cultivate a strong awareness of your breath.
2. Place your hands on your hips, and step your left foot forward 2–3 feet. The size of your step may vary depending on your size and flexibility, but be generous to start—you can always adjust later if you feel any strain.
3. Bend your left knee to a 90-degree angle with your knee directly above your heel. Press into the ball of your right foot as you lift your right heel off the ground.
4. Internally rotate your right leg by turning your back hip forward and drawing your right knee down and in. This will help keep your hips square to the front of the mat, which is crucial to maintaining a deep stretch in the hips and hip flexors (which tend to be tight from sitting too much and can contribute to lower back pain). Keep the weight of your left leg grounded in the heel. You should feel your gluteals waking up—you’ll likely notice a warm sensation—in the back of your front leg.
5. Begin straightening your right leg, which will increase the stretch in your right hip flexors. Reach your right heel toward the wall behind you. Engage your right quadriceps as you straighten and lift your kneecap; remain aware of your breath as the intensity increases. Keep your pelvis in a neutral position to protect your lower back.
6. Raise your arms overhead while slightly dropping your ribs. Bring your hands to touch, and lengthen through the back of your neck, tilting your gaze toward your hands. Relax your shoulders and draw your ribs down and in as you reach through your fingertips. Hold for 8–10 breaths; repeat on the other side.
See also Low Lunge
Avoid These Common Mistakes
Don’t bend your front knee beyond a 90-degree angle—it diverts energy from the gluteals to the knee joint of your bent leg, creating pressure there.
Don’t let your pelvis fall into anterior (forward) tilt or allow your ribs to protrude as you raise your arms. Keeping your ribs down will help you avoid moving into a backbend, which can compress or pinch your low back.
About Our Pro
Model and teacher Jodi Blumstein has been a devoted student of Ashtanga Yoga since 1994. In 1998, she opened the first Ashtanga Yoga school in Chicago, and for the past 11 years, she has been teaching the practice at YogaWorks Center for Yoga in Los Angeles. To learn more, visit jodiblumstein.com or check out her classes at yogaglo.com.
See also Warrior 1 Pose