Guided Yoga: Low Lunge Pose and Upward Plank

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Today’s Poses – Low Lunge Pose and Upward Plank

Low Lunge Pose and Upward Plank

Low Lunge Pose

Low Lunge, or Anjaneyasana, is a very commonly practiced pose in yoga because it stretches and strengthens so many of the areas of the body at once. It is an excellent pose to practice regularly because one can see measurable results in a short time.

This pose can be practiced in a more relaxing, supported way, or it can be practiced more vigorously to build great strength, balance, and flexibility. The pose also has many variations that can enhance the stretch, and as such, it a very satisfying asana.

Low Lunge can be adapted in many different ways to serve all levels – from those new to yoga, to those who practice occasionally, as well as the experienced yogi.

Steps

  1. Begin in Downward-Facing Dog or Adho Mukha Svanasana. On an exhale, step your right foot forward between your hands.
  2. Lower down onto your left knee and release the top of the left foot on the ground.
  3. Ensure that the right knee is stacked directly over the right ankle, and isn’t moving forward toward the toes or outward to the left or right (this protects the knee from injury). Keep the knee directly over the ankle if it feels like enough for your body—you should feel a comfortable stretch along the left front thigh and groin. For a deeper sensation, you can inch the right foot forward on the mat until you find an edge that feels appropriate for your body.
  4. Take your fingertips to the ground on either side of your hips (you can also rest both hands on the front knee if taking the fingertips down feels like too much) and relax your shoulders away from your ears. As you continue to breathe deeply, soften the weight of your body down into your hips, and draw your tailbone down toward the ground.
  5. Feel free to remain here, with your hands on your knee or your fingertips beside you for support, or experiment with extending one or both arms up alongside your ears and moving into a backbend (as shown above). Take five to 10 breaths in your expression of Low Lunge, whatever that might look like.
  6. To come out of the pose, tuck your back toes under, plant your palms down on the mat, and make your way back into Downward-Facing Dog. Take several breaths in Down Dog, bending the knees, then repeat on the other side.

Benefits

  • Low Lunge is a great pose to stretch out tight quadriceps, hamstrings, groin, and hips, and encourages a full range of motion in the lower body.
  • As such, this pose is perfect for athletes such as runners and cyclists, as well as those who sit at desks all day.
  • It can also create a wonderful opening sensation in the chest and abdomen.

Upward Plank

Upward Plank Pose is an intermediate back-bending yoga pose that builds strength and flexibility.

Steps

  • Sit up with the legs stretched out straight in front of you, keeping the feet together and the spine erect.
  • Place the palms on the floor around the waist or at shoulder level, fingertips pointing away from you. Do not bend the arms.
  • Lean back and support the weight of your body with your hands.
  • Breathing in, raise the pelvis, keeping the whole body straight.
  • Keep your knees straight and bring the feet flat to the floor. Place the toes on the ground and the sole will then tend to be on the ground. Let the head fall back towards the floor.
  • Hold the pose and continue breathing.
  • As you exhale, come back to a sitting position and relax.
  • Repeat the posture with your fingers pointing in the opposite direction.

Benefits

  • Strengthens the wrists, arms, shoulders, back, and spine.
  • Stretches the legs and hips.
  • It improves respiratory function.
  • Stretches the intestines and abdominal organs.
  • Stimulates the thyroid gland

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