The Back Foot In A High Lunge

swivel the back foot in a high lungeThis post is about the high lunge in yoga where the feet are parallel and the heel of the back foot is up in the air. When we do this type of lunge we are hoping/trying to square the hips to the front of the mat. Ideally, the hip points and shoulders all point straight ahead and are in the same plane.

This is a much easier shape than warrior one position where the back foot is grounded and even though the effort is to square the hips towards the front of the mat, it is not likely to happen. In the high lunge the parallel nature of the feet should allow for the hips to be square. For this to happen, the ball of the back foot should be parallel to the front of the mat as well.

And yet, they rarely are. I teach a lot of lunges with many different variations and when everyone in the room does something it can actually be hard to notice if that thing isn’t for the best. A while back I began to see that most students neglect to keep the back foot truly parallel, letting it turn in the direction of the warrior one foot without putting the heel down.

When I say moving in that direction I mean about a quarter of an inch and that is all it takes from my perspective for so many students to make a simple yet radical change in their practice.

Start by doing some high lunge poses and check to see if the hips are genuinely square to the front of the mat or is the hip of the back leg pulled oh so slightly backwards. Then check the alignment of the back foot. You might find that the ball of the foot is not actually parallel to the front of the mat either.

Swivel the back foot and turn the pinky toe forward about a quarter of an inch. This very slight change might just square up your hips and give you better access to the pose.


Chuck Berry: It's got a back beat you can't lose it.
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