Side Lunge Pose

Skandasana-StephSchwartz

A beautiful pose and a wonderful release for the legs and low back, side lunge pose promotes balance, stability, and flexibility.

Philosophy + Origin

Side lunge pose can be a wonderful way to begin to understand the concept of a “moving prayer,” especially when you allow the body to flow freely from one side to the other. While malas (prayer beads) are used in many spiritual practices as a way to help keep the mind engaged, repetitive physical movement can have the same effect. Repeated sequences of poses like surya namaskar (sun salutations) can allow the brain to relax and let go, much like moving fingers from one prayer bead to the next. Whether you practice a flowing version of side lunge pose, or use the posture as part of a salutation, give your body and mind enough time to find rhythm and ease so that you can enjoy the benefits of a physical embodiment of prayer and meditation.

ADJUSTMENTS/MODIFICATIONS:

  • Use a block underneath your seat to support your joints.
  • Option to add a bind with your arms around the bent knee and lower back.
  • For a more lunar or restorative version of the posture, allow your upper body to drape toward the ground with the arms relaxed.

STEP-BY-STEP:

  1. Begin standing with a wide stance, toes pointing toward the long side of your mat.
  2. Lengthen the spine and broaden across your collarbones. As you exhale, begin to bring your hands down to the mat, keeping the spine long.
  3. Bend your left knee and allow your hips to shift to the left. Press evenly through the sole of the left foot as you flex your right toes toward the ceiling. Engage your legs actively to safely deepen the stretch.
  4. Option to bring your hands off the floor, bringing them to your heart in anjali mudra or to any mudra of your choice.
  5. Engage mula bandha to help draw energy up and to improve your balance in this posture. Hold the pose for several breaths before shifting your weight and flowing to the opposite side.

PREPARATORY POSES:

SEQUENTIAL POSES:

COUNTER POSES:

  • Head to knee pose | Janu sirsasana
  • Cow face pose | Gomukhasana
  • Half lord of the fishes | Ardha matsyendrasana

PHYSICAL BENEFITS:

  • Strengthens the lower body, especially psoas muscles.
  • Lengthens hamstrings.
  • Promotes balance and stability.

ENERGETIC BENEFITS:

  • Strengthens muladhara (root) chakra.
  • Calms the mind.
  • Releases built-up tension.
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