How to Do a Lunge the Yoga Way

How to Do Lunge Pose
Lunge Pose. Ben Goldstein

If you look at the final version of a simple pose like a lunge you might not think there's much to it. But in yoga, how you do even the most basic poses is important. Even a pose like tadasana, which looks like just standing there, has a lot going on under the surface. In fact, all the poses should be done with optimum alignment and attention to detail to cultivate better body awareness and get the maximum benefits.


You've probably done a lunge before, but forget everything you know about assuming this position before trying it the yoga way. Sometimes rethinking a shape you're familiar with is even more challenging that trying a pose you've never seen before. In yoga, we call this the beginner's mind. In the beginner's mind, there are many possibilities. Let this guide you into a new experience of this pose.

Type of Pose: Standing

Benefits: Opens the hips and groins; stretches the calves, thighs, and hamstrings.


1. From downward-facing dog, step your right foot up to inside your right hand on an inhalation. If your foot doesn't make it all the way up to the top of your mat, move it into position with the right hand. It's important that you build the pose from the ground up by setting up your feet at opposite ends of your mat. If you need more info, sSee our advice on adjusting your foot position manually

2. Bend your right knee so that it is directly over your right ankle with the right thigh parallel to the floor. Take particular care that your knee does not get in front of your ankle since this places the knee in a vulnerable position. A little behind the ankle is ok if this is as deep as is comfortable.

3. Line your fingertips up with your toes.

4. Flatten your palms or tent your hands to come up onto the fingertips, whichever allows you to open your chest forward. 

5. Roll your shoulder blades down your back, lengthen your spine, and bring your gaze to the horizon line.

6. Keep your back leg very straight and strong. Extend from your back heel up through the crown of your head. Stay on the ball of your back foot.

7. Hold up to five breaths, then return back to downward dog on an exhalation.

8. Repeat with the left leg forward.

Beginners' Tips

1. Problems often arise with the back leg. Make sure that it stays very straight and is not drooping toward the floor. 

2. At the same time, keep your hips level with your front thigh. Don't let your butt poke up in the air.

3. Your sacrum should also stay flat, not tilted to one side. It tends to want to lean over to the side with the leg forward. You can take one hand off the floor and lay it on your sacrum for a few seconds to make sure it is flat. 

3. Sometimes a glance in the mirror can be very instructive in this pose. You may not realize that your butt is up or back leg is bent until you see it. 

4. Use blocks under your hands if you need a little more lift.


Advanced Tips

1. If you feel stable, begin to take some more of the weight out of your hands until the are hovering off the floor.

2. Lift your torso up to a perpendicular position to the floor and raise your arms overhead for a high lunge. 

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