One of my favorite heat-building asanas (poses) is High Lunge Pose (Anjaneyasana). This pose is fantastic because there are so many variations/ modifications you can take so that with just one pose, you can tone and lengthen your leg muscles while also working on your endurance. Alternatively, you can take this pose down a notch by lowering your back knee to the mat to make it less-heat building and more restorative.
How to get there
You can take many of the same modifications from Virabhadrasana II here, too! Modifications include:
How does this help our legs? After holding this pose for even just a few breaths, you'll definitely be able to tell that Anjaneyasana strengthens the quadriceps and booty. It also does a killer job stretching the psoas and hips, which are so important for mobility.
I see the below misalignments, or some combination of, all the time. Take a look at my back foot. See how the heel is behind the ankle? This is where you would want to wiggle the back foot back a little more to get the heel over the ankle. This helps protect your knee and ankle and also ensures you're working the muscles the right way.
Also see how my back knee is bent? I'm not getting as good of a stretch in the legs, psoas, or hips as I would if I activated my back leg and lifted the back knee up.
Another thing is that I'm leaning forward here (see how my shoulders are in front of my hips?) and I'm not taking advantage of the chest/heart opener and slight backbend. If I were to draw my shoulders back just a bit so that my arms pointed straight up, I'd have a bit of a chest opener here which is a great stretch for the front torso and back. It's also a great way to lift your mood and spirit!
Finally, you'll want to watch out for your shoulders in Anjaneyasana. As you see in the picture on the left below, I've got my arms closer to one another and my shoulders are scrunched up by my ears. This is a common issue for athletes with tight shoulders. To relax the shoulders, try separating your arms further apart like on the right and rotate your pinkie fingers in towards one another.
That should be enough on Anjaneyasana for now. See if you can be mindful during your next practice to incorporate one of these tips!
Happy Monday, friends!
I’m Anahita Reilly, a Type-A, native Northern Virginian, happiness lover. This blog evolved out of my longstanding desire to share this beautiful thing called yoga with others. Click here to read more...