How to Do High Lunge Pose in Yoga (Guide to Utthita Ashwa Sanchalanasana)

High Lunge Pose serves as the preparation for many other yoga poses and is an essential pose to learn in building the foundation of your yoga practice. Depending on the lineage, this pose goes by many names, including High Lunge Pose, Runners Lunge Pose, or Equestrian Pose. But regardless of the name you call it by, this pose is essential in any yoga practitioner’s toolkit.

“This version of High Lunge Pose is a foundational practice and common transition pose, that when practiced regularly, can help build strength for a range of other asana’s,” says Yoga Answered contributor Isabella Koepf. “This pose is also both grounding and uplifting, creating a beautiful balance of energy in the body and mind.”

High Lunge Pose Quick Look

Sanskrit Name: Utthita ashwa sanchalanasana
Pose Type: Standing Yoga Poses
Difficulty Level: Beginner pose
Targets: Hamstrings, quadriceps, calves, ankles, groin, arms, wrists, lower back, and neck
Benefits: Stretches the groin, strengthens the thighs, opens the calves and ankles, stimulates the toes, opens the chest, stretches the neck, and grounds the mind
Preparatory Poses: Low Lunge Pose, Downward Facing Dog pose, Wide-Legged Forward Bend Pose, Reclining Hero Pose, Chair Pose, Hero Pose, Forward Fold Pose

How to Do High Lunge Pose Step-By-Step

  1. Starting in a standing position with an exhale, drop your hands down beside both of your feet, coming into a forward fold.
  2. Then with an inhale, step your left foot back behind you, keeping your foot in line with your hips as you balance on the ball of your foot.
  3. Try to create a right angle with your right knee by keeping your knee in line with your ankle; you may need to make a broader stance to allow more space.
  4. Rest your abdomen on your front thigh and lift your chest; if your arms or chest feel compressed here, you can also place 2 blocks under each of your hands to give more space. Other variations include lifting your hands off the ground and holding them in a prayer position, as seen in the video above.
  5. Gaze forward and simultaneously firm your left leg as you lift the back of your leg towards the sky and press into the ball of your foot.
  6. Hold here for a few breaths, and then slowly step your left food back between your hands, returning to a forward fold position.
  7. Repeat the pose on the opposite side by stepping your right foot back behind you instead.

Beginner’s Tip

If you have any issues with your neck, then avoid gazing upwards or forwards in this pose, and instead gaze down towards the floor to create a more neutral spine.

This pose is a very active yoga pose, so if you feel like you cannot hold it any longer, you can also opt for a low lunge instead by gently dropping your back knee onto the ground.

If you have a larger abdomen, you may need to adjust your abdomen by wrapping your hand around the left side of your abdomen and pulling it to be on the inside of your right thigh. You can repeat this on the opposite side by wrapping your hand around the right side of your abdomen instead. Remember to use blocks or props to assist you in this pose as well and find the most comfortable position for your body.

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