You may recognize Low Lunge from any Sun Salutation you have been a part of. A beginner-friendly pose, Anjaneyasana, it’s Sanskrit name, typically transfers to Chaturanga. Low Lunge Pose welcomes flexibility in the hips and is a great starter if achieving the vertical splits is on your radar. Even if it isn’t, Low Lunge will lengthen the thighs and open the pelvis and can be easily adjusted for your level. 

A more flexible yogi may wish to engage in backbending by releasing the hands from the ground and raising them overhead, while a beginner or someone with tighter hips can use the hands to guide the hips into the pose with more caution. If you find you’ve been neglecting the side body, Low Lunge is a fantastic time to add in a little oblique twist with prayer hands.

Benefits of Low Lunge

Anjaneyasana is best for stretching the hip flexors. If you tend to sit for extended periods of the day, your hips will benefit from stretching them out to release the tension you likely hold in this area. 

You'll also receive a generous stretch in the thighs and pelvis, making Low Lunge a wonderful way to open the entire lower body. When you are ready to lift your hands from the ground, you can elevate the hands overhead to expand the chest and bend the back. 

Opening your lunge this way welcomes energy to your third-eye and heart chakra. If you are more comfortable keeping your hands on the ground, your prana will concentrate on the sacral chakra.

Chakras involved in Low Lunge

Work the throat and third-eye chakra in Low Lunge. You also have the option of calling upon the Anahata, or heart chakra, by raising your arms overhead and opening the chest with turned palms. Prana will turn in your Vishuddha in the throat, restoring truth and the ability to communicate. 

If you have been struggling to speak your truth, bring awareness to this chakra by slightly arching the neck to look upward in your Low Lunge. The Ajna, located between the two eyebrows, is responsible for wisdom and spirituality. 

Your third-eye looks upon the sky to accept wisdom from the world. Embrace this knowledge and allow your physical self to reconnect with its spiritual body.

How to practise Anjaneyasana

1. Before entering Low Lunge, begin in a standing position at the front of your yoga mat. Let the upper body fall forward to a standing forward bend position. You may bend your legs and press your hands into your thighs, knees, or the ground.

2. From your forward fold, let the weight shift to the left leg to prepare for sending the right leg back. As the right leg extends backward, allow the core to rest on the top thigh of the bent left leg. The right leg will be straight behind you with your toes connected to your mat.

3. Allow the right leg to bend toward the ground. Connect the right knee to the yoga mat or your knee-friendly prop. Lift the upper back so you are no longer bending forward. Find a comfortable position for the spine depending upon where you place your hands.

4. The placement of your hands will depend on your flexibility. To start, it is best to let the tips of your fingers press into the ground or your yoga blocks on either side of the left leg. Avoid dropping the neck and try to keep the spine aligned.

5. If you are looking for a deeper stretch, let your hands float up from the ground and onto your left knee, or higher into the air. Raise your arms to open your heart and engage in a slight backbend. Tighten your core to help keep your balance.

6. Breathe into the right hip and concentrate on the sensation in the lower body.

7. When you are ready to come out of Low Lunge, begin to rock on the legs and the balls of your feet to send the left leg back into Plank Pose. If you prefer, you can instead bring the right leg forward, back to your Standing Forward Fold.

Tips for Beginners

1. Ease into your Low Lunge because flexibility will come with time and practice. Ignore where you think you should be, and give grace to where you are in your yoga practice. This may mean surrounding the body with props to keep the body raised in the most ideal posture for your body.

2. Keeping your hands on the ground (or on yoga blocks placed on the ground) allows you more control over the depth of your hip stretch. If you are ready to enter a deeper stretch, experiment with moving the hands onto the knee or straightened above.

Optional Props to help you practice Low Lunge

1. Even advanced yogis will want to cushion the knees from a hard surface. Folding your yoga mat under the knees works in a pinch, but a folded blanket, bean bag knee pad, or thin pillow will also help to buffer the hardness of the ground and knee.

2. Yoga blocks, or even a stack of books, can be put under the hands for extra height. Avoid hunching into the pose by accommodating your height so you can keep the back straight while the hands rest on your yoga blocks.

When to Avoid the practise of Anjaneyasana

If you are prone to overextending the hips or have loose hips, it would be best to avoid partaking in Low Lunge Pose. If you have experienced any hip pain or your hips making popping noises, you could be more susceptible to a damaging hip injury. Speak with a doctor before attempting Anjaneyasana.

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