Stretch and strengthen your hips, hamstrings, ankles, and more in Side Lunge Pose – a popular transitional yoga pose.
Side Lunge Pose (Skandasana) – also known as Young Goddess Warrior Pose – is a beginner-to-intermediate level yoga pose that offers a great hip and leg stretch, while also strengthening the hips, legs, and ankles. It also helps build core strength, improves balance, and is often used as a transitional pose during yoga flow sequences. This is also a good pose to practice before trying split poses like Monkey Pose.
In the full intermediate-level version, Side Lunge Pose includes an arm bind and twist that helps to further open the chest, hips and hamstrings.
Be sure to keep your core engaged and spine straight in this pose, and keep your hips square. Avoid twisting either the hips or the knees. If you need to modify the pose, you can stay up on the ball of your weight-bearing foot, place a rolled towel or blanket under your heel, or rest your hands on blocks.
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Avoid this pose if you have a recent or chronic injury to your hips, knees, or ankles.
Here are a few tips for performing Side Lunge Pose, according to VeryWellFit.com:
- >Begin in Wide-Legged Forward Bend (Prasarita Padottanasana).
- Bend your left knee into a half-squat. Keep your right leg straight and flex your foot so that your toes leave the floor so you are resting on the right heel.
- There are a lot of options for arm variations. Keep your hands on the floor if you need them for balance. Otherwise, try bending your elbows and bring your hands into anjali mudra (palms together) with the left elbow inside the left knee in a kind of half Garland Pose (Malasana). You can also extend them to the sides as if shooting a bow, or try any other variation that you like.
- Drop your hands to the floor for support and shift to the other side.
When you are ready for a challenge, you can move towards the more advanced bound version of the pose as follows:
- Wrap your left arm in front of your left shin and bend your elbow to bring your left hand behind your back.
- Reach your right hand back to bind with the left one.
- Turn your chest to the right and open your heart toward the ceiling.
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