There are a few poses—or “asanas”—that you just can’t yoga without. There’s child’s pose, cat-cow, and (of course) downward dog, but lunges are also an essential part of any yoga practice. On this week’s episode of The Right Way, yoga instructor and MIRROR trainer Pilin Anice shows you how to do a high lunge pose (or “ashta chandrasana,” meaning crescent high lunge pose) the right way, so your yoga foundation can be on point.
Lunge pose challenges your full body, but your legs take the brunt of the work. “High lunge pose is wonderful to strengthen your lower body. We’re building strength and stamina in our quadriceps, in our hamstrings, in our hip flexors. And it’s a very dynamic pose when you’re doing it the right way,” says Anice.
That said, ashta chandrasana has a lot of moving pieces, and if you’re not doing it quite right, you could introduce tension and aches into your body (which is so not what we’re trying to do here). According to Anice, folks tend to make the same three lunge pose mistakes again and again, so let’s see if any of them sound familiar, shall we?
The wrong way: Leaning really far forward
The first mistake Anice sees is people pitching their torso too far forward in their lunge. This throws your body out of balance, and your front leg ends up taking the brunt of the weight. Remember, you want both of the legs working hard here. Widen your feet until you feel grounded, then take a moment to find the place where your weight is evenly distributed between your front foot and back foot.
The wrong way: Tilting your pelvis
“The second common mistake is a pelvis that’s tilted forward or back, so not neutral, creating crunching in our low back,” says Anice. Instead of allowing your pelvis to curve, engage your core to protect your spine. You can place your hands right on your hip points to help guide them into a more neutral alignment. I know, I know: The pose just got a lot harder.
The wrong way:
Last, Anice often sees people lifting up and wearing “their shoulders as earrings” when they extend their arms overhead. This compresses the neck and shoulders, and creates unnecessary tension in a part of your body that’s already suffering from text neck. Drop your shoulders down and tuck your shoulder blades back, like wings, to relax your neck.
Make sure to check out the full video to see how your ashta chandrasana measures up, then you’re ready to flow.