Advice on Stepping from Down Dog to Lunge

Close view of woman's back leg in a yoga lunge
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Dear Aunt Yoga,

In a sun salutation sequence, I am supposed to step from downward facing dog into a low lunge with the forward foot between my hands. After trying to limber my hips up, I am still unable to get my foot all the way forward. It often ends up below my chest, and I have to reach back with one hand and pull it forward into the correct position. I've found that this is a total disruption to the flow of the sequence, and I am unwilling to accept that it's just impossible to do.

Is stopping to move my foot up manually a bad thing? Are there ways I can work towards being able to complete the move "correctly"?


Dear D.L.,

Moving the foot up with your hand is the accepted solution to your problem, which is quite a common one in beginners. It’s really not that bad and is far preferable to leaving your foot too far back, which could injure your knee. As you continue to practice, I think you will find it gets easier and easier – it did for me!

Some tips to consider:

  • Come up onto the fingertips before stepping forward to lunge. The added height makes getting the foot up easier. You can work on flattening the palms later.
  • Raise your leg in a downdog split before attempting to bring your foot forward. The added momentum of swinging your leg sometimes will help your foot come further forward.
  • Bring the knee up into your chest, rounding the spine a little bit as you step forward.
  • Accept your current ability, and know that it will improve over time.


Aunt Yoga

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