Feeling healthy and strong within your body is an empowering experience. A yoga practice is one of the many ways we can cultivate that feeling. For me, I want to feel amazing and continue to practice yoga in all ages and stages of my life. To do so, moving and practicing in a way that is sustainable and supportive is the key.
As a life-long learner and teacher, I love, love, love making yoga, movement and self-care easy and accessible for people. Quite often it doesn't take much, just a little refinement can go a long way to enjoy a sustainable yoga practice... and integrate that sustainability into all the activities you love.
Strong & Stable Lunge
There is something that many people do in an asana practice without realizing they do it... hang out in their joints. I see it all of the time and was once someone who was blissfully unaware of it for many years. Especially for those who are quite mobile, it can feel perfectly natural to "hang" in one's joints.
If you go to a yoga class, you will likely hear the cue, "slightly bend your elbows' if you are doing plank or something on the hands and knees. The elbows are one of the more common joints that we hang out in. One of the more overlooked joints that we hang out in, in certain positions, would be your hip joints. When we practice in a way that is trying to achieve maximum flexibility, or "going deeper" in a pose, then we run the risk of creating compensation in the body. Because quite often the flexibility comes at the expense of stability and support.
I'm a really big proponent of moving in a way that promotes mobility: that sweet spot that encourages strength AND flexibility. Are you strong enough to hold yourself in a supportive way for your joints? Do you have control over your end ranges of movement?
Your hips joints are some of the most important joints in your body. Surrounding your hip joints are a whole beautiful network of strong ligaments and muscles to help support and move your joints well. When we can move with awareness of structural support combined with mobility, then we are practicing in a wonderfully sustainable manner.
Lunges are one of those postures or movements that we can sneak past stability and head into the compensation zone. Yet, one little cue can make the biggest difference for the long-term health of your hip joints and make those muscles around the joints more effective and strong. What I love about this cue is that the moment you do it, you will feel the difference right away. Hello!
- In a lunge, bring your attention to your front leg and pull your femur bone (your thigh bone) back into your pelvis. I like to call it: "plugging it in"
- You will notice by plugging your femur bone back into the socket so to speak, that your pelvis will level out and the musculature around the hips and on the backside of your legs will wake right up. Hurray! Now you are using your muscles to hold and support you in the lunge and keeping your hip joints happy.