(Ardha Alana): Techniques, Benefits, Variations

Level – Beginner

Low Lunge Pose

(Ardha Alana)

Low Lunge Pose Prep & Practice

1

Beginning in Mountain pose (Tadasana) at the top of the mat. On an exhalation, come into Standing Forward Fold (Uttanasana ), bringing hands to mat or blocks on either side of the front foot. On an inhalation, take a big step back with the left foot, exhale and lower knee and shin onto mat.

2

Right toes (front foot) pointed toward top of mat, knee stacked directly over ankle. Left (back) knee slightly bent, centerline of thigh and calf face ceiling, top of foot rests onto mat (foot tracking directly behind hip and knee) or toes curled under.

3

Inner thighs energetically hug toward one another. Hips square front to back and side to side. Abs firm in and up, knitting front ribs finding length in the front, sides and back of torso.

4

On an inhalation, arms sweep slightly forward and up, chest opens slightly, shoulder heads move back, upper arms externally rotate, spread fingers energizing hands and arms. Head and neck in line with spine.

5

Breath is steady, legs, abdominals and arms energized and engaged, soften tops of shoulders away from ears.

6

To come out of the pose, on an exhalation hands come to blocks or mat, back toes curl under, inhale lift back knee, exhale engage abdominals and mindfully step forward to Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana), prepare for the second side.

Variations/Modifications

  • Blocks under hands (balance issues)
  • Blanket under back knee for padding
  • Bring hands onto front thigh (shoulder injury)
  • Curl back toes under and lift back knee

Physical, Mental and Emotional Benefits

  • Stretches psoas, hip flexors and quadriceps
  • Promotes balance and steadfastness
  • Opens chest and heart
  • May help relieve sciatica 
  • Energizing

Contraindications

  • Hip injury (Flexion)
  • Knee Injury 
  • Balance Issues (see modifications)
  • Shoulder Injury (see modifications)
  • Hernia

Thoughtful Sequencing

Mountain (Tadasana), Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana), Low Lunge (Ardha Alana), Option to Flow through Sun Salutation (Surya Namaskar), meeting in Mountain (Tadasana). Repeat the other side.

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