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Low Lunge Pose (Anjaneyasana)
With Dr Kiki Morriss
Throughout 2022, OM is exploring all the key poses that make up the Sun Salutation, yoga’s most familiar and graceful sequence. By Dr Kiki Morriss
Sun Salutation 2022
Welcome back to OM’s anatomy academy. This month we are looking in depth at the fourth pose of the Sun Salutation sequence – Low Lunge Pose (Anjaneyasana).
Low Lunge Pose
Anjaneya = Mother of Hanuman
Asana = Posture
MOVING INTO THE POSE
- Start in Mountain Pose (the first pose of the Sun Salutation).
- Inhale and lift your arms into Upward Salute Pose (the second pose of the Sun Salutation).
- Exhale and fold at your hips into Standing Forward Bend Pose (the third pose of the Sun Salutation). Move your upper body towards your legs.
- Step your left foot back and lower your left knee to the ground into Low Lunge Pose. Bend your right knee, keep your hands on the floor on either side of your right foot, lift your upper body.
FOCUS YOUR GAZE
Your focal point (drishti) is at a fixed point straight ahead of you. Alternatively close your eyes and draw your focus inwards.
HANDS & ARMS
- Keep your hands flat on the ground and your fingers in line with your toes.
- Keep the fingers & thumbs of each hand together and pointing forwards.
- Curl your back toes under and stretch the sole of your back foot.
- Keep your front foot flat on the ground. Spread your weight evenly across the inner and outer edges of your foot and across the surface of your foot.
- Keep your front knee aligned above your front ankle.
- Lower your hips down towards the ground.
- Engage your hip flexors (iliacus and psoas major) to flex your front hip and to stretch your back hip.
- Draw your navel in and up.
- Lift upwards from your waist, giving freedom to the upper part of your body, increasing the expansion of your lungs and enhancing the action of breathing.
- Open your chest and meditate on opening your Anahata or heart chakra. Your heart chakra represents unconditional love, compassion and joy. It is associated with the ability to open your heart to love by releasing fear and encouraging compassionate healing.
HEAD, NECK & SHOULDERS
- Activate the lower third of your trapezius to soften your shoulders away from your ears and make space for your neck.
- Lift your sternum (breastbone) upwards.
- Keep your chin parallel to the floor.
- Lift upwards through the crown of your head.
- Soften your jaw and allow space between your back teeth.
INSIGHTS IN LOW LUNGE POSE
- Bring awareness to your lungs. Breathe in and feel your lungs expanding in all directions
- Breathe out and feel your lungs releasing from all directions.
- Short, weak and inflexible hip flexors are a common problem, particularly if you spend a lot of time sitting on a chair. Low Lunge is a great way to stretch and strengthen your hip flexors, acting as an antidote to long periods of time sitting in a chair. Breathe in and out, bringing awareness to your hip flexors.
- Stretches and strengthens hip flexors (iliacus & psoas major).
- Stretches and strengthens legs and groin.
- Increases ankle and foot flexibility.
- Improves balance.
- Opens chest.
- Improves posture.
- Cultivates focus.
- Move into a High Lunge by lifting your back knee and straightening your back leg. Lift your arms on either side of your head, palms facing inwards. Keep your front knee aligned over your ankle.
MODIFICATIONS AND CONTRAINDICATIONS
- Practice Low Lunge with caution if you have hip or groin issues. If necessary, consult your doctor before practicing.
- Place your hands on yoga bricks if you have difficulty bringing them to the ground in Low Lunge.