Hip Yoga: Variations on a Lunge

Still looking at low lunge to stretch the hip flexors, this is just a quick post highlighting some fun variations. Mostly, they start to incorporate other areas of the body into the stretchy goodness.

The first one I actually do opposite of what the video shows:

[Video from geobeats via YouTube.]

What I mean is, when I side bend toward the back leg, I feel the stretch in the outer hip on my front leg. Good for what it is, but often not where I’m trying to go. If what I’m really wanting to stretch is the hip flexor on my back leg, I side bend in the opposite direction — specifically, away from that back hip flexor. And actually, I feel this less in my side body but rather more intensely in my back hip — which probably says something funky about my hips.

Next, a variation that builds nicely off the side bend — particularly, at least the way it happens in my body, that side bend toward the front leg: prayer twist. While the side bend starts to open up my torso for the twist, actually getting into the twist works better for me if I come back up straight first.

[Video features Sage Roundtree instructing for Competitor.com. Via YouTube.]

I like this particular instruction as it features a few options for gradually moving deeper into the twist. One more possible variation, spoken as someone whose spine is willing but whose breasts sometimes (depending on the bra, if I’m PMSing, etc.) keep me from getting my elbow all the way across to my outer thigh: Sometimes the leverage from placing my elbow on top of my thigh — not on top of my knee — is enough. That is, pushing down into my thigh works a lot like it does in extended side angle to provide spinal lift and room to twist.

As far as what I feel in this pose, it’s a good way to add a spinal twist — which makes my mid back happy — and outer hip stretch (for the front leg) into the mix. And after warming up my back with a spinal twist, I might be ready to go into this quad stretch:

[Video from geobeats via YouTube.]

(Note: It’s also worth noting that I generally don’t take all of these variations in succession, at least not without giving my poor hip flexor a break first! On a day where I’m focusing on my hips, I might take each of these in its own sun salutation. On a day where I’m not, I might take one or two as part of a sequence where my body feels ready for it.)

I’m very careful about this one because I’m prone to feeling it quite intensely in my quad. And the quads are kind of a big muscle to feel stretching intensely. So I go slow here and often don’t pull my foot in very far. Oh, and for folks who have trouble grasping their back foot or ankle, a strap can be a good prop here.

Next time, I will make a brief — maybe brief? I know the pose I’m doing and there are variations — foray into hip flexor strengthening. It will be a lot of work maybe a little shaky and burny fun. Yeah, fun.


I'm here. I like stuff. Some other stuff, I like less.

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Posted in asana
3 comments on “Hip Yoga: Variations on a Lunge
  1. […] the knee– whew!) I also spent some time with the back of my legs and opening up my hips (the hip yoga series over at Anytime Yoga has been really helpful for this, it’s a very tight spot for me.) Maybe someday I’ll be […]

  2. Hi there,

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    • Tori says:

      Hi there,

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