Side Lunge Pose

Skandasana-StephSchwartz

Side lunge is an aesthetically beautiful pose and a wonderful release for the legs and low back. This pose is sometimes referred to as skandasana.

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. 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 (prayer gesture) or to any mudra of your choice.
  5. 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

BENEFITS:

  • Strengthens the lower body.
  • Stretches hamstrings, calves, and groins.
  • Can promote balance and stability.
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Parivrtta Hasta Padangusthasana: Revolved Hand to Big Toe Pose

ADJUSTMENTS    |     BENEFITS    |     SEQUENCING    |     SANSKRIT    |     STEPS

Parivrtta hasta padangusthasana (par-ee-VRIT-tah HAS-ta pod-ang-goosh-TAHS-anna) is a balancing posture that asks for flexibility. Use props and modifications to make this challenging posture accessible from right where you are.

Philosophy + Origin

While the name of this pose is straightforward, many yoga teachers call it dancing Shiva, which opens up a whole new perspective for understanding parivrtta hasta padangusthasana. Traditional depictions of Nataraj, or dancing Shiva, show the arms and legs moving fluidly across the body, which is how the shape of this posture earned it its nickname. Shiva’s dance is often referred to as a cosmic dance of bliss, showing the universal cycles of creation and destruction, birth and death. Practicing dancing Shiva is a recognition of these cycles, and improves the ability to find balance and peace in the midst of eternal change.

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