How to Do Side Lunge Pose (Skandasana)

Skandasana, also called Side Lunge and Half Squat, is a great addition to your yoga routine because it gets your body moving and opening in new ways.

Ann Pizer | Posted in: Practice, Yoga Poses, Yoga Practice

Skandasana Side Lunge

Yoga is all about moving in new ways to build strength and open areas of your body you didn’t even know you had. Skandasana definitely fits this bill. Practice it as an alternative to forward-facing lunges and incorporate it into side-facing flows to get into your hip creases, stretch your hamstrings, improve balance, and work your legs.

Side Lunge Basics

Sanskrit Meaning: Skanda (Hindu war deity) Asana (Pose)
Also Known As: Half Squat Pose (Ardha Malasana)
Yoga Level: Intermediate
Pose Type: Standing
Benefits: Stretches your hamstrings and calves. Strengthens your core, quads, and glutes.
Precautions: This is a deep squat so if you have instability in your pelvis or knees, proceed with caution.

Side Lunge Pose

Key Alignment Cues to Keep in Mind

1. Take your weight into the heel of your bent leg. This will help you balance.

2. Try to sit back as much as possible. Leaning forward will tip you over.

3. Keep your straight leg very active and engaged.

Step by Step Instructions

1. Begin in a wide-legged stance facing the long side of your yoga mat.

2. Forward bend to bring your hands to the mat.

3. Turn your toes out 45 degrees.

4. Bend your left knee to come into a squat on that side.

5. Keep your right leg straight and come onto your right heel, flexing or pointing your right foot strongly.

6. To further challenge your balance, bring your hands to your heart centre in Anjali Mudra. You can also bring your left elbow inside your left knee, your left hand to the floor, and open your right arm toward the ceiling.

7. Take your gaze up past your right fingertips

8. After several breaths, return your hands to the floor and straighten your left leg before moving to your other side.

Beginners’ Tips

1. If your heel comes off the mat when you squat, place a rolled-up blanket under that heel so you have something to ground into.

2. If squatting is difficult or painful for you, don’t bend your knee as deeply.

    Skandasana Variation 

    Bound Skandasana (Baddha Skandasana)

    Wrap your bottom arm around your bent leg and reach your hand behind your back with the palm turned up. Release your top arm behind your back and bring your hands to clasp. Turn this traction to open your chest toward the ceiling.

    Side to Side

    If you’re ready for a challenge, try moving from side to side in Skandasana without using your hands on the floor.

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