Low Lunge is a great asymmetrical stretch to develop length along the top of the extended leg and hip strength in the front leg.
Because we can use the weight of the torso to assist in the stretch, low lunge can have the secondary benefit of a backbend. This backbend can become a challenge unto itself.
This posture is asymmetrical and consequently there is an increased potential to twist while bending backwards. It is essential to avoid twisting while performing a backbend. The topography of the vertebrae is such that a twist while bending backwards could result in damaging or weakening the bones that protect your central nervous system.
The simple approach to minimizing risk and maximizing effectiveness is spinal extension. Finding length in the spine before bending or folding provides the extra space between vertebrae to move deeper without undue stress on bone and cartilage.
Try low lunge as follows to nourish and develop hip and spinal health. We’ll use the left foot forward in this example but as always be sure to keep balance in the body by working left and right sides equally.
Step the left foot forward aligning knee over ankle. Use the vertical lines on your scorpion mat to find a point of reference that you can match on the other side when it’s time.
The right leg extends behind you and rests on the mat. Make sure you find a point of reference that parallels the left foot and keep legs parallel with hips as close to perpendicular with the legs as possible.
Move the hips forward and down as you lift the collarbone up and back. This creates spinal length in opposing directions and allows for safely bending backwards which then allows the weight of the torso to assist in the stretch of the right leg.
In the picture we see fingertips touching the mat to provide another point of leverage to continue to move deeper in to the hips and quadriceps. The result is an effective stretch that is also aesthetically pleasing and fun to do!
To learn more about safe backbends + forward folds check out our quick videos!