My favorite yoga poses are twists. But there’s one — high lunge prayer twist — that I find a bit of a challenge (hence it’s not among my favorite poses). Still the benefits of practicing high lunge prayer twist outweigh the challenge, so I practice it often.
And finally, the “prayer” part of the pose helps me feel both grounded and in tune with my higher power. That, to me, is the most important benefit of yoga poses versus other types of stretches and exercises.
How to Practice High Lunge Prayer Twist
There’s a great sequence that leads up to high lunge prayer twist that you’ve probably practiced many times. It’s the sequence from downward-facing dog through low lunge to high lunge and finally to high lunge prayer twist.
Here’s how to do it:
Start in downward-facing dog, heels pressing towards the floor, arms and legs straight if possible. Then, on an exhale, bring your right knee towards your chest, pulling your knee inwards and activating your core.
Step your right foot in between your hands, making sure your right knee is stacked above your right ankle.
Lower your left knee to the floor. (If you experience any discomfort, you can put a blanket under your knee or fold your mat over to create more cushion.)
Gently move your hips forward, while keeping your right knee over your right foot. You should still be able to see your toes. You’ll feel a gentle stretch in your left thigh.
Stay here or lift your upper body up on an inhale and put both hands on your right knee to increase the stretch. If you like, you can also lift your arms up towards the sky. If you lift your arms, keep your shoulders relaxed and rolled down your back, your chest open, and your tailbone tucked.
Moving into High Lunge
To prepare for high lunge twist, first come into crescent lunge: On an inhale, raise your arms up to the sky, with your palms facing each other. Look straight ahead, and again keep your shoulders rolling down your back. Engage your core.
On the next exhale, bring your hands into a prayer position in front of your chest. Inhale. Then, on the exhale, twist to the right and hook your left elbow on the outside of your right knee. Your hands should still be in a prayer position.
On an inhale, lengthen your spine, on an exhale twist a little bit more. Look up if it feels comfortable.
If you want to intensify the stretch, spread your arms wide, reaching your left arm to the floor and your right arm to the sky. You can wrap your left arm under your right leg and your right arm over your right hip for a bind.)
When you’re ready, come back to crescent lunge on an inhale. Then step back to downward-facing dog. Repeat the sequence on the other side.
If you’re new to this sequence, you may not love it at first. But if you move through the poses with intention, taking the opportunity to appreciate all of its benefits, you may come to see at as one of the most important flows in your yoga practice.
Remember you can get more guidance on the poses in this sequence by using the Track Yoga app! So, what’s your experience with high lunge prayer twist? Let us know in the comments.