High Lunge. This is one of several versions of a lunge in Yoga. Next week I'll demo a modified version. The lunge pose prepares the hips and legs for other standing lunges like Warrior I and Side Angle posses. Also used in Sun Salutations as one of the poses in the sequence. Today I'm demoing a lunge with the knee up and fingers on the floor.
To begin start from Uttanasana (Forward Bend), bend the knees and step the right leg back onto the ball of the foot with the hands shoulder-width apart on the floor under your shoulders. Be on your fingertips and the front left knee aligned over it's heel to protect the knee. Inhale and lengthen the spine forward and up with an open and light chest. The head is up without jamming the neck gazing forward.
To keep the back leg lengthened, relax the groin muscles allowing the hips to drop evenly toward the floor while extending through the back heel and firming the thigh pushing it up toward the ceiling.
If you choose to have the palms of the hands flat on the floor you must maintain an open chest. To do this you really have to extend the back leg and the hips are dropping with the chest ifting. You do not want the chest resting on the thigh. You want an angle from the shoulders to the back heel. If this is not possible then come onto your fingertips to give you the height in your chest. In my practice I'm on my fingertips, I also teach my students to be on fingertips to get an open, light and lifted chest.
It's important to keep the front knee over it's heel to prevent possible damage to the knee. When the knee comes in front of the heel with the weight of this pose the knee is vulnerable for possible injury. If you're front knee is in front of your heel then you're flexible and need to increase the distance between the feet. You're working toward bringing the front thigh parallel to the floor. Over time with a regular practice you'll become more flexible.
To come out: Hold the Lunge for 30 to 60 seconds. Push off the back foot coming back into the Forward Bend and repeat on the other side.
Benefits: Strengthens and tones the legs, arms and core muscles. Stretches the calves, thighs, hamstrings and chest. Opens and stretches the hips and groins. Builds balance, stamina and flexibility. Releases tension and helps with back pain by relieving backache and sciatica.
Happy & Healthy,