LOW LUNGE – ANJANEYASANA
Another pose among my favorite ones! There is more to Low Lunge then meets the eye…
Also known as Anjaneyasana, Low Lunge is a very basic pose you are going to go through many times during a Yoga class, especially because it’s used to link many asanas together, starting from Sun Salutation.
Before dance classes, I used to cuddle myself into it, preparing for splits and leg lifts.
When I practice by myself, I still love holding the pose longer then during group classes to find that pleasant stretching of my legs’ joints that I love.
From Downward-facing Dog, step one foot, let’s say the right one, between your hands, so that your shin is perpendicular to the ground (not forward!), which is very important to avoid joints injuries. Try to keep your leg this open, but if you can step your left knee slightly forward. In both cases, place both the left knee and the top of your left foot on the floor.
While your torso lays by your right thigh, avoid collapsing into the pose by keeping your shoulders open and gazing forward.
To challenge yourself, you can lift both hands to the ceiling, parallel and with the palms facing facing each other. In doing this, draw your tailbone in while lifting your pubis to get your torso perpendicular to the ground and activate your core. Try to look up to your hands as long as you don’t put strain on your neck.
Exhale and go back to classic Low Lunge. Take air in and on the next exhale step back to Downward-facing Dog.
Repeat on both sides for the same time, especially if you are holding the pose.
A very common variation for Low Lunge is Lizard, aka Utthan Pristhasana. To reach this pose, place both hands on the left and inner side of your right foot, then place your forearms on the floor, elbows in line with the foot’s arch, and fingers spread on the mat. Detach your left knee from the floor and try to straighten the back leg.
In this pose, your torso will lower down at the height of your right thigh, or even lower, increasing the stretching of your back, joints and psoas.
BENEFITS AND SYMBOLIC MEANING
I love the profound elongation that Low lunge provides to my legs and lower back. I believe Anjaneyasana si one of the poses that I feel most comfortable in, I feel like I could hold it forever!
On the physical level, it is helpful to stretch quadriceps, the psoas and groins, and to open hips on the sagittal plane.
Low lunge is a very beneficial for athletes such as runners, cyclists and sports players and provides a great alternative to Warrior poses for those who suffer from hips or knee problems.
Finally, holding the pose at least for 5 complete breath cycles will improve your balance and focus!