Anjaneyasana – Low Lunge Pose
Low lunge is a great pose for people who are new to yoga since it helps build a strong foundation of strength and balance that helps prepare the yogi for other poses. It can be done or performed by any individual with different capabilities and body types. This yoga pose is a lunging pose (asana) which helps strengthen the legs, thighs, and hips. It can also help to improve the abdominal muscles and may help with weight management.
Low lunge pose is known by its Sanskrit name, Anjaneyasana. Different variations of this pose are available for yogis; some include lowering the back knee to a yoga mat on the floor and by keeping the hands on the front thigh instead of the usual pose of reaching above the head. In order to deepen the pose, the individual extends their spine longer into a deeper backbend. When performing the pose, if there is a strain on the knees, a folded cloth or mat can be used under the back knee. For beginners, stretching the arms can be a bit difficult; if that’s true for you, try resting your hands on your hips or in a prayer pose. Yogis who feel insecure and lack a lot of balance can place yoga blocks on each side of their front foot and place their hands on the blocks while in the pose. As confidence and balance increase, the amount of pressure applied to the blocks can decrease as the individual prepares to lift off the blocks into a deeper expression of the pose.
Anjaneyasana is named after Lord Hanuman’s mother, Anjani. Hanuman is also known as Anjaneya in Hindu culture. Lord Hanuman is known in the Hindu culture as the mighty God who has limitless power and strength. Performing this pose brings great power and strength to the individual who practices it in the correct way.
Low lunge or Anjaneyasana can be considered one of the foundational poses in yoga since different pose variations can be derived from it. Performing this pose in a proper way can help an individual boost their energy, therefore it can be added to other flow yoga sequences.
When performing Anjaneyasana, the individual’s front leg is bent at a 90-degree angle while the back knee is lowered to the floor. The back toes can stay tucked under or turned so the top of the foot rests flat on the floor. The individual’s torso must be lifted up while the arms will reach above the head as the tailbone will be pressed downward. The gaze of the individual can be focused on the fingers or toward the horizon in front. Repeat the pose on each side.
How to Perform Anjaneyasana
- Begin in a downward facing dog or tabletop position
- Step the right leg forward allowing the knee to stack directly on top of the right ankle
- Slide the left knee back until you feel a slight stretch in the left hip, then place the left knee on the floor (with an optional blanket or pad under the knee for support)
- Draw the tailbone downwards towards the floor as the pelvis tilts upward slightly
- Beginners can frame the right foot with blocks, place their hands on top, engage the legs and lift the chest upwards
- When strength and balance allow for it, lift hands from the blocks or floor as you inhale and extend them out to the sides then up overhead
- Keep the shoulder blades drawn slightly together and down the back, as you extend the spine and draw the ears behind you
- While keeping the spine long and avoiding compression in the neck you can take this pose even deeper by pressing the hands together and turning your gaze upwards towards the ceiling
- Breath deeply in whatever the fullest expression of the pose is for you
- When you’re ready to exit, exhale and mindfully return your hands to the blocks or floor before moving to the second side
Benefits of Low Lunge Pose
This pose helps to lengthen the sides of the individual’s body while toning the obliques. It can also help open and strengthen the hips, strengthens and lengthen the quadriceps as well as the deep iliopsoas muscles (which tend to be tight for many individuals), improve balance and stability, and warms up and stretches the shoulders. This pose also offers benefits to the heart and the circulatory system. It is a recommended yoga pose for runners, hikers, and cyclists who enjoy cardio workouts. It also helps clean the kidneys and liver from toxins. Doing this pose also opens the chest and allows the individual to perform deeper breathing exercises which result in a better respiratory system. It also activates the chakras simultaneously which results in balance and stability of an individual’s body and allows the body to become energized. It applies traction on the spine and lengthens the individual’s vertebrae from each other.
Individuals who suffer from lower back pain, hip pain, and pain in the sacroiliac region may benefit from this pose by assuming a shorter stance. Before beginning any yoga activity or exercise regimen, make sure to consult a medical physician.