The LungeThis is called The Lunge by most teachers, because from Step 3, you are to lunge with your lower body into this posture.
- When you are first learning this, it's a good idea to just bring yourself down into this position from Step 3. Bend your right knee and place your left knee behind your buttocks, standing on your toes of your left foot (as Eugenia shows in the image above).
- With your right foot in between the palms of your hands on the floor, hold your head and chin straight. This might look easy, but it isn't. You can also use the tips of your fingers. If that is not possible, put your hands on your right knee.
- If you study this image, you will notice that Eugenia's back is quite straight. Try to keep your back straight in this position. This means that your chest is not leaning against your thigh.
- When you are able do this without thinking about it (and you will do that, even if might be hard to believe that right now), you will then move into Step 5 as you hold your breath for a very short moment. Step 5 is often called The Plank. Many Yoga teachers do the Downward Dog instead (see image and Variation instructions next).
Step 5 - The Plank
Exhalation and RetentionThis is The Plank, but you can also do The Downward Dog (see below for variation)
- Exhale as you come into this position and then wait to inhale for a moment (after you have learned how to do this position, of course). After you stretch your right leg behind you, bring both legs up and stand on your toes with your knees straight. When you feel ready, you can attempt to bring the soles of your feet down to the floor (which is more difficult). Your arms are stretched with your elbows straight. Hold your neck straight (as shown in the image above) as you look down at the floor.
- While you are in this position, you are not inhaling, yet. But remember, this is only for a very short moment. You are not actually holding this position, but moving into it and then out of it. As you move out of this position down to the floor for Step 6, you will be inhaling.
- Caution: If you have asthma, heart or respiratory problems, do not wait to inhale. Breathe normally.
Variation - Downward DogThe popular name for this is Downward Dog, but it is also known as The Pyramid, All Fours, and in Sanskrit it is called Adhomukha Svanasana.
- While exhaling, bring your right foot back to your left foot and lift your hips and push back and up. Stretch your elbows and arms and support your arms with the palms of your hands pushed down against the floor.
- Try to align your ears with your arms. Stretch your entire body while you straighten your legs and arms and look at your feet. Remember what you see. As you progress, it will be a nice surprise to see how much easier it will be to do this.
- Again, you can either stand on your toes, or place the soles of your feet on the floor (often more difficult). This will stretch the muscles in your legs even more.
- While you are in this position, you are not inhaling or exhaling. But remember, this is only for a very short moment. You are not actually holding this position, but moving into it and then out of it. As you move out of this position down to the floor for Step 6, you will inhale. And, as always, I caution anyone with asthma, heart or respiratory problems not to hold their breath or to practice retention of exhalation while doing this series. Breathe normally.