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Lunge Pose (ashwa sanchalanasana)

Table posture that helps to open your chest and hips.
 

Lunge Pose (or ashwa sanchalanasana) stretches your legs and groin, with an emphasis on stretching the front of your thighs. This pose also lengthens your spine and helps to open your chest and hips.
 
Increasing the flexibility of your hips in Lunge Pose can help you sit more comfortably in poses, such as Easy Pose and Bound Angle Pose. Lunge Pose can also make performing back bends easier by increasing the flexibility in the front of your thighs. Lunge Pose is often performed as part of Sun Salutation.
 
To avoid rounding your lower back in Lunge Pose, make sure that you keep your back flat and your spine lengthened. Try to visualize the lengthening of your spine and the lifting of your torso as you inhale, and the sinking of your hips as you exhale.
 
If you feel pressure on your back knee in this pose, place a blanket under your knee to make the pose more comfortable. Always use caution performing Lunge Pose if you have knee or hip problems.
 
Steps:
Begin in Table Pose.
Step your left foot forward and place your foot between your hands.
(Your left knee should be directly over your left ankle and both hips should be facing forward.)
Press your fingers or palms into the floor, lift your torso upward and relax your shoulders back and down.
(Feel the stretch in the front of your right thigh and feel your right hip gently moving forward and down.)
Tuck your tailbone under to lengthen your spine.
Elongate the back of your neck and keep your head in alignment with your spine. Your head should not drop forward toward your chest.
Hold the pose for 30 seconds to 1 minute and then return to Table Pose.
Repeat steps 2 to 6 for your other side.
 
Modification:
You can intensify the stretch of Lunge Pose by raising your back knee off the floor. Perform Lunge Pose, except curl the toes of your right foot under and straighten your right leg. Then move the back of your right leg toward the ceiling as you extend your right heel toward the floor.
 
What should I do if my hands cannot reach the floor?
If your hands cannot reach the floor in this pose, you can place your palms on blocks to help lift your torso upward.
 
Can I make Lunge Pose more challenging for my legs?
To work your leg muscles more, lift your torso up and rest your palms on your front thigh. Then press your palms into your thigh to lift your torso upward. Remember to keep your shoulders relaxed back and down.
 
Can I use Lunge Pose to improve my balance?
While holding the pose, raise your arms above your head, with your palms facing each other. Then bring your palms together, keeping your arms stretched up toward the ceiling and your shoulders relaxed down. Point the crown of your head toward the ceiling and gaze straight ahead. This modification helps to improve your balance, open your chest and stretch your arms and shoulders.
 
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