• T
  • H
  • M
  • High Lunge Hip Flexor Stretch

    high lunge, yoga hip stretch, yoga for flexibility

    High lunge yoga pose can be used to stretch the hip flexors.

    The hip flexors work to close the front of the hip joint. With high lunge you focus on opening the front of the hip joint by sinking the pelvis down.

    So that you also stretch the psoas major muscle, you can focus on lengthening your torso upwards, and even on bending your ribcage backwards as you hold this yoga pose.

    Back Foot Position

    Starting with your back knee on the floor, you can have the top of the foot on the floor or you can tuck the toes forwards.

    I like having the top of the foot on the floor since when I lift my knee I then get a stretch along the whole front of the leg, including the front of the ankle. However I also like to practice with toes tucked under.

    Press the Back Foot Down

    Focus on pressing your back foot into the floor as you inhale. Imagine kicking the floor with your foot. As you do so notice the tension in your thigh as you increase the pressure. See if you can increase the pressure to the point where your back knee is just about to leave the floor. Then gradually decrease the pressure as you exhale.

    Lifting the Back Knee

    If you focus on feeling your back knee as well as your foot you can notice the point at which your knee is about to leave the floor. The knee will feel "empty." (I've included an in-depth explanation of "empty" in my book Balance Basics.) If you relax the leg the knee becomes "full". Try the following four part exercise. Do each part slowly and smoothly.

    1. As you inhale press your back foot down just till the knee is empty.
    2. Then as you exhale lift the knee.
    3. Then inhale touch the knee to the floor.
    4. Exhale and relax your leg completely.


    • You may find it helpful it this exercise to have your feet about hip width apart from side to side.
    • By pressing the back foot into the floor you may also be activating some of the hip flexors. So you may be lengthening the hip flexor muscles while they are active.
    • You don't have to straighten the back knee in this pose. Often just lifting it off of the floor adds weight to the high lunge position that helps to sink your pelvis and stretch the hip flexors of your back leg.

    Adding the Spine

    I used to teach this next part first but I found that students unfamiliar with their body got confused when I added the knee lift after. So I teach beginners the knee lift first and then add the upper body.

    With torso upright, focus on first lengthening your neck. Pull your head back and up, and your chin inwards and downwards. Make the back of your neck feel long. Then let your head move forwards and relax your neck as you exhale.

    Then, as you lengthen your neck lift and open your chest. Then relax both together while exhaling. Now add the knee lift. As you lengthen your neck and open your ribcage, press your foot down and smoothly lift your knee. Then lower your knee and relax your leg as you relax your spine and neck.

    Initially you can have both hands on your front knee to help push your ribcage up and back. Once you are comfortable with lengthening your spine and lifting your knee you can add the arms. On a single inhale, reach the arms forwards and then up as your lift your knee and lengthen your spine. For smoother synchronization I like to reach the arms forwards as I make the back knee empty, then I reach the arms up as I lift the back knee. Reverse these steps to come down.

    As you get more comfortable with high lunge you can try bending your spine backwards. I'd suggest that you try lifting your back ribs to give yourself more room to bend. You may also find it helpful to internally rotate your back leg as you do so. But keep your back knee pointing down.

    high lunge yoga hip stretch high lunge yoga hip stretch high lunge yoga hip stretch

    High Lunge Against the Wall

    lunging hip stretch with shin against wall

    You can also do High lunge with your back shin against a wall.

    Use blocks for your hands or keep your hands on your front knee.

    For this version, as you inhale you can press your back foot into the wall. Relax as you exhale.

    From here you can work at moving your front foot forwards so that you work towards front to back splits.

    Keep the torso upright to keep this as a hip flexor stretch.

    Return to Home Page

    Return to Yoga for Flexibility from High Lunge

    Gumroad, Yoga for your shoulders, available in epub, pdf and mobi. Neil Keleher, Sensational Yoga Poses.

    Gumroad, Yoga for your shoulders, available in epub, pdf and mobi. Neil Keleher, Sensational Yoga Poses.

    Improving Flexibility

    Leg Stretches

    Hip Stretches

    Psoas Stretching

    Back Flexibility

    Shoulder and Arm Stretches

    More Stretches

    Relaxed Meridian Stretching

    More On Flexibility and Stretching

    What's New?

    An Exercises for Knee Stability, The Seated Get Up

    The seated get up is a way of getting into the one legged squat from a seated position. Even if you aren't interested in one leg squats this video does include tips on stabilizing the knees (at about the 5 minute mark.) Usual muscle activations for knee stability might include the quads, the hamstrings or any of the glutes. This looks at another set of muscles all together. If you like the video or find it helpful, please do share it! Thanks!

    Continue reading "An Exercises for Knee Stability, The Seated Get Up"

    Deep Squats

    Some tips for learning how to do deep squats (without weight). The first tip is on how to stay balanced while squatting.

    Continue reading "Deep Squats"

    Learning The Body Weight Squat

    How do you learn the body weight safely? How do you work towards this pose even if you aren't sure if you are capable of doing it.

    Continue reading "Learning The Body Weight Squat"

    Basic Yoga Poses

    Basic yoga poses: standing, sitting, arm balances, binds, twists, inversions, back bending, front bends.

    Continue reading "Basic Yoga Poses"

    Scapular Awareness

    Scapular stabilization becomes a little bit harder when working agains the weight of the body. It can be easier to learn if you gradually increase the amount of body weight the scapular stabilizer muscles are working againsts..

    Continue reading "Scapular Awareness"

    Hip Flexor Strengthening Exercises

    Some hip flexor strengthening exercises.

    Continue reading "Hip Flexor Strengthening Exercises"

    Arm Strengthening Exercises

    These yoga poses can be used as arm strengthening exercises.

    Continue reading "Arm Strengthening Exercises"

    Leg Strengthening Exercises

    Turn yoga poses into leg strengthening exercises using floor pressing actions, leverage and friction.

    Continue reading "Leg Strengthening Exercises"

    Hip Strengthening Exercises

    One way of finding and fixing hip problems is to do standing hip strengthening exercises while balancing on one leg.

    Continue reading "Hip Strengthening Exercises"

    Knee Anatomy for Yoga Teachers

    Knee anatomy for yoga teachers looks at the bones and muscles that comprise the back of the knee in simple terms.

    Continue reading "Knee Anatomy for Yoga Teachers"

    Kneeling Quadriceps Stretch

    Working towards a kneeling quadriceps stretch you first need to be able to kneel. If you have difficulty kneeling, you may find it helps to activate your quadriceps.

    Continue reading "Kneeling Quadriceps Stretch"

    Quadriceps Stretching Yoga Poses

    When doing quadriceps stretching it may help to activate and then relax your quadriceps in these standing, lunging, pigeon and supine yoga pose variations.

    Continue reading "Quadriceps Stretching Yoga Poses"

    Lying Quadriceps Stretch

    Some exercises and yoga poses for working towards a lying quadriceps stretch one leg at a time.

    Continue reading "Lying Quadriceps Stretch"

    Benefits of The Dance of Shiva

    What are the benefits of the Dance of Shiva? Arm strength and balance, learning to learn and improving creativity.

    Continue reading "Benefits of The Dance of Shiva"

    Yoga Routine Video for Strengthening Arms and Legs Via Friction and Pressure

    This yoga routine video is designed to help you strengthen your arms and legs via the use of friction and pressure. It also teaches you how to become more aware of your body.

    Continue reading "Yoga Routine Video for Strengthening Arms and Legs Via Friction and Pressure"

    Transverse Abdominis Exercises

    The transverse abdominis muscle can be broken down into three parts. Transverse abdominal exercises can thus affect the SI Joint, lumbar spine and the lower portion of the ribcage.

    Continue reading "Transverse Abdominis Exercises"

    Knee Strengthening Exercises

    To improve the resiliency of your knees it can help to exercise them in a variety of positions. The following yoga poses can be used as knee strengthening exercises. The trick is to activate your knees while doing them.

    Continue reading "Knee Strengthening Exercises"

    Quads and Superficial Hip Flexors

    Learn to consciously control your quads and hip flexors with Conscious Muscle Control: Quads and Superficial Hip Flexors. This downloadable video course teaches you how to feel and activate your quadriceps (the vastus muscles) as well as the rectus femoris, tensor fascae latae and sartorius muscles.

    Continue reading "Quads and Superficial Hip Flexors"

    Calf Stretches

    For any calf stretch you have to bend your ankle forwards to stretch the soleus and/or gastrocnemius. How you bend the ankle forwards can make the stretch more or less effective.

    Continue reading "Calf Stretches"

    Yoga for Flexibility

    Yoga for flexibility with stretches for the hips, quads, hamstrings, glutes, psoas, shoulders and arms. These yoga stretches are designed to improve flexiblity.

    Continue reading "Yoga for Flexibility"