Low Lunge Pose (Anjaneyasana) is a foundational stretch for the quadriceps (fronts of the thighs) in the back leg, and the hip flexors in the front leg. There are many variations, challenges and modifications which means that there is a version of this pose for everyone (unless you have recently had knee surgery or injury). As with other flexed knee positions, it is very important to keep the knee aligned over the ankle to protect the inner and outer ligaments of the knee.
Practice Lunge Pose often!
How to get into the pose:
From All Fours or Downward Facing Dog, exhale your right foot between your hands. Make sure your right foot faces 12 o’clock. Align your right knee directly over your heel.
Drop your left knee to the mat and slide your knee back along the mat until you reach a manageable stretch in the back quadriceps (thighs).
Keep your neck long, looking down towards the mat.
Draw your abdominal muscles in and up (engage uddiyana bandha).
Take deep breaths.
To release the pose, exhale your left knee down to the mat and bring the right knee back to join the left.
Rest in Child’s Pose, if you need to, then repeat the pose on the left side.
Remember to create the balance between effort and ease in your pose.
How long to stay in the pose:
Five to ten breaths
The space ahead of your front foot
With your right foot forward, slowly bend your left knee so that your left heel draws towards the bottom. Hold for five breaths then repeat on the left.
For a deeper stretch, reach your right arm back to catch your ankle and draw the heel closer in towards the bottom. Hold for five breaths then repeat on the left.
These are very strong stretches for the quadriceps. Place the weight of the leg above the kneecap rather than directly on it. Support with a blanket if needed.
Modifications you can take to make this pose more accessible:
Use a blanket under your back knee to support the joint
Use blocks under your hands to raise the floor
There are many variations you can combine to experience different lunges:
Bring your hands to the heart centre in a prayer (Anjali Mudra)
Raise your arms overhead, drawing your shoulder blades in and down the back
Lift your back knee from the mat, keeping the back leg strong and straight
Contraindications / Cautions:
Do not practice these poses if you have a knee injury or are recovering from knee surgery