The low lunge stretches and strengthens the hip, buttock, and thigh muscles and helps relieve tension in the lower back, which is often responsible for pain and poor posture.
In this article, we’ll show you how to correctly perform a low lunge to reap the full benefits for your lower back, posture, and well-being.
What Is Low Lunge (Anjaneyasana)?
The low lunge pose, or Anjaneyasana in Sanskrit, stretches the thighs and groin and opens the chest. The yoga exercise is perfect as a balance for people who do a lot of desk work or sports.
The pose is used for post-workout recovery and increases energy while consciously working to improve flexibility and posture.
Anjaneyasana is part of the classic Sun Salutation but can also be practiced independently. Since it stretches the hip flexors, yoga sequences use it to prepare for the high lunge or warrior I.
The low lunge is named after the Hindu god Hanuman’s mother, “Ajani,” also called “Anjaneya.” Hanuman is known for his giant leaps. In the Hindu religion, he impersons courage, strength, devotion, bravery, and power, just like those who do low lunges.
Is Low Lunge Good for Beginners?
Yes, low lunge is suitable for beginners and advanced practitioners.
Which Styles of Yoga Practice the Pose?
It is trendy during Vinyasa or Hatha yoga and is also part of the sequence of movements of the classic sun salutation.
However, the pose is also practiced in various other yoga classes.
- Adho Mukha Svanasana (downward-facing dog)
- Prasarita Padottanasana (wide-legged forward bend)
- Virasana (hero’s sit)
- Supta Virasana (hero’s sit in supine position)
- Utkatasana (chair pose)
- Alanasana (high lunge)
- Virabhadrasana I and III (warrior I and III)
What Are the Benefits of Low Lunge (Anjaneyasana)?
The low lunge pose stretches the thighs, hamstrings, groin, and hips, increasing the mobility of the abdomen.
1. Increases Flexibility
In a recent study, a multi-week yoga program that included the deep lunge improved participants’ functional movement patterns and levels of mindfulness (Xu et al. 2022).
2. Improves Stretching
The deep lunge is perfect for warming the body and preparing for more challenging yoga poses or workouts.
In addition, the exercise can loosen tight muscles in the hips and legs. For this reason, the low lunge is an excellent activity to stretch the body after a workout, especially when running or cycling.
3. Activates Large Muscles
Researchers looking for safe exercises for skeletal muscle disorders found what they were looking for in the deep lunge. The lunge was best at activating two major muscles of all the yoga poses studied.
One of them is the gluteus maximus (Rathore et al. 2017).
The gluteus maximus is the largest muscle in our body and is essential for strength training. Therefore, it can contribute the most to growth hormone release.
4. Improves Posture
The second muscle the exercise in the study activated exceptionally is the rectus abdominis (Rathore et al. 2017).
We know this muscle group better as the “six-pack.”
However, this area is vital for more than just appearance. Because this muscle mass is the largest counterpart of the back muscles, it is equally instrumental in improving your posture.
5. Relieves Sciatica
Spinal ailments such as sciatic pain are no longer uncommon with a sedentary lifestyle. Regular practice of low lunges helps to prevent these ailments.
The therapeutic effect of this yoga asana can relieve people from severe sciatica pain. Moreover, this posture makes the spine strong and flexible, which prevents further discomfort.
6. Regulates Hormones
The position relieves low sexual desire, improves fertility, and relieves menstrual cramps by improving blood flow to the abdomen.
It also stimulates the thyroid gland, preventing osteoporosis and boosting metabolism.
For this reason, the position is often used in hormone yoga.
7. Promotes Digestion
The yoga pose is very beneficial for the abdominal area and improves its function by improving digestion, strengthening the abdominal muscles, and can even help with weight loss.
8. Stimulates Chakras
The deep lunge opens up both the hips and chest, stimulating and balancing chakras. For this reason, it can help get rid of negative emotions. These emotions are usually carried in the hips.
Accordingly, the yoga position has an energizing effect and activates the following chakras:
It opens the heart chakra, considered the center of universal love and self-love, which brings you care and compassion.
The abdominal stretch activates the Manipura chakra, which can balance emotions.
The stretch in the pelvis and groin stimulates the sacral chakra, which promotes creativity.
9. Reduces Stress
Pent-up emotions can make the hips very tense. When they open up with the help of the low lunge, stress and anxiety are also released.
Recent science can also support the anti-stress benefits of low lunge. Regular yoga practice, including the pose for 12 weeks, was able to help college students significantly reduce the release of stress hormones (Lim et al. 2015).
How to Do Low Lunge (Anjaneyasana)
Deep lunge promotes balance and can be practiced directly out of a downward dog. Julia shows you the perfect execution of the pose:
- Starting position: Downward-facing dog.
- Lunge: With an exhalation, take a big step forward with your right foot between your hands. The front knee is aligned directly over the ankle.
- Stretch: Place the left knee on the floor, well behind the hip, so you feel comfortable stretching in the hip and thigh. Rest the back of your foot on the floor. The further you push the leg back, the deeper the stretch will be. Be sure to keep your hips parallel.
- Straighten: Tighten your abdomen as inhale, lift your torso, and bring your arms up next to your ears. Palms face each other. Gently bend the upper body backward. Hold the position for 4 breaths.
- Lower: Lower arms and torso with exhalation, place hands beside your foot, and step right foot back into downward-facing dog.
- Repeat: Repeat the exercise with your left foot.
- A common mistake in this position is a rounded back. For proper execution, keep the back straight, the spine extended, the chest elevated, the body’s center tense, and the neck in line with the rest of the spine.
- Another mistake is to lunge backward with your hips. Be sure to keep them parallel.
- Don’t bend your knee too far forward; keep it above your ankle. You should still be able to see your big toe when you look down.
Expert Tips to Improve
- Rest the back of your rear leg on the floor.
- To keep your hips parallel, brace your arms at the hips and pull your right hip back slightly when your right leg is in front.
- Pull your shoulders down and away from your ears as you raise your arms.
- Activate your abdominal and gluteal muscles to increase balance and stability.
- If you have sensitive knees, place a blanket underneath.
Variations and Modifications
- Runner: A popular variation is the runner, in which the hands remain placed on the floor next to the foot. Open the chest forward while pulling the collarbone long.
- Hands on hips: Instead of raising your arms above your head, you can also rest them on your hips to make it easier to keep your balance.
- Half moon: In this, the hands pull further back over the head, creating a deeper backbend with the torso. In some traditions, this asana is called half moon.
- Yoga blocks: Instead of resting your hands on the floor as in runner, you can also use two yoga blocks that you place next to your foot and rest your hands on. This way, you can easily vary the stretch in your upper body by the height of the blocks.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Anjaneyasana is a yoga pose in which you do a deep lunge. The pose opens the hips and pectoral muscles, is used for recovery after exercise, and increases energy and flexibility.
While in a classic low lunge, the arms are actively extended upward, in a runner’s lunge, they are placed on the ground next to the foot.
Anjaneyasana is named after the Hindu god Hanuman’s mother, “Ajani,” or “Anjaneya.” Hanuman is known for his giant leaps, bringing courage, strength, devotion, bravery, and power.
The low lunge stretches the back thigh, hip flexors, abdominal muscles, and the large pectoral muscle.
Stephan is a writer and a true man of science, holding multiple diplomas and master's degrees in different research areas. His greatest passion is closing the gap between the conventional perception of health and the latest scientific evidence – always following the data.