High Lunge is a standing pose that is suitable for all levels and styles of asana practice. High lunge is usually practiced at the start of a sequence as part of a salute series or warm-up. High lunge stretches and strengthens the back, shoulders and leg muscles.
Begin in Tadasana (tall mountain) pose. The feet should be touching, with the hands by your sides. Step the right foot back as far as is comfortable, with heel off the floor, toes grabbing the floor. At the same time, bend the left knee. Press the foot sole into the mat. Focus the gaze on the left big toe, and stretch the sternum towards the left knee. On the next inhale, raise the arms level to the ears, fingers pointing to the join between wall and ceiling. To exit the pose, step the right foot forward, relax the arms back to Tadasana. Repeat the other side.
Visualise a straight line from the heel of the back foot to the finger tips. Keep the hips square – facing front, by stretching into the back heel, while simultaneously pressing front heel to the ground.
Alignment is the key to this pose. The back foot, knee, hip, shoulders, arms and head should be in one diagonal line-up. Pull up on the back knee cap to strengthen the stance. Place hands on the hips to bring them square. Relax the shoulders and stretch up through the fingers tips to activate the arms. Keep the upper chest open as lifted when bringing the sternum over the front thigh. Align the sternum to the knee. Front knee and foot should be in line. The fingertips should be pointing to the join between wall and ceiling.
Strengthens and stretches ankles, legs, back, shoulders and arms Strengthens core muscles and abdominals Stimulates circulation Stretches groin muscles Stretches hip flexors
WATCH OUT FOR
- Locked or hyperextended knee caps
- Sagging knees, hips, arms, neck
- Lopsided hips
- Knee or ankle injuries
- Place wedge under back foot
- Place hands against wall
- Place back heel against wall
- Place front thigh over chair
- Lift the gaze and fully arch the back (crescent)
- Clasped hands behind and lift arms (humble warrior)
- With eagle arms
YOGA COUNTER POSES
- Standing forward bend (uttanasana)
- Downward facing dog (adho muka svanasana)
- Tall mountain (tadasana)
- Upward salute
Written By: Brenda Hamlet
Brenda Hamlet is a RYT 200 yoga teacher and journalist. More information about Brenda can be found at https://www.facebook.com/brendahamletyoga