I love lunges. Until recently, I was mostly practicing the Ashtanga primary series in my home practice, which doesn't include any lunges. I know, I hear you gasp: "no lunges!" Crazy, right?
Because I think that lunges are some of the most wonderful stretches around, and here are a few reasons why:
- Lunges stretch the Psoas muscle, which is one of the most critical muscles used in walking, standing, sitting, and generally holding your spine in place. Which is pretty important, you know?! A shortened psoas can lead to all kinds of trouble, including long-term postural habits that can cause chronic back pain. Ouch. Stretch with a nice deep low lunge where one hip is trailing slightly.
- Lunges also stretch the rectus femoris muscle, or hip-flexor, one of the quads that attaches to the hip bone and runs all the way down to attach below the knee, also important for walking, running, and the relationship between the hip and knee. Stretch in a low or high lunge with the hips square, or go deeper by bending the back knee from a low lunge to catch the foot. Bliss.
Readers, do you love lunges?
(Cover photo: YogaJournal.com)