Hip Opener, Neutral Spine, Standing
Ankle, Feet, Hamstrings, Hips, Legs, Quads
Setup and Key Actions
From prasarita padottanasana (standing wide-legged forward bend) come up onto your fingertips and lengthen your spine (“flat back”). Stay on your fingertips as you bend your right knee for a side lunge. You can stay here, or turn your right toes out slightly so that they point toward the upper right corner of your mat, making sure to keep your knee and toes pointing in the same direction. To further the stretch, turn your left leg out so that your toes face up toward the ceiling with your heel remaining on the floor. You can sink into a deeper side lunge, bringing your pelvis lower to the ground if that feels comfortable for your knee, widening your stance if needed. Choose to either keep the sole of your right foot on the floor, or lift your heel, coming up onto the ball of your right foot.
Play with lifting your hands up off of the floor, bringing your torso more upright and challenging your balance. A few arm variations here include: resting your hands at your heart in prayer position, reaching them out to the side like you’re shooting a bow, or take any creative variation that you like.
Avoid hyperextending your straight-leg knee. Dig your left heel into the floor and resist back (engaging your hamstrings) as you balance the action by drawing your left knee up (engaging your left quadricep).
If the deeper variation bothers your knee or feels too intense for your hamstrings, stick with the simple side lunge from half wide-legged forward bend. Just remember to keep the bent knee tracking in the same direction as the toes. If the floor feels far away, you can prop your hands or fingertips up on blocks.