Ashva Sanchalanāsana (Equestrian pose)
- Stand with your feet together, bring your hands down next to your feet
- Step your right leg back toward the end of the mat
- Drop your knee down and point your toes back
- Sink the hips toward the floor
- Lengthen the spine as you look up
- Stay for 5 breaths & repeat on the other side
Asana in Depth
Ashva Sanchalanāsana, also known as Equestrian pose is the fourth pose used in some traditions of sun salutations. It gives a great stretch to the hip flexors and expands the chest. It can been seen as a gentle variation of the runner’s lunge.
Stand with your feet together in tāḍāsana and bend down to place your hands next to your feet, shoulder distance apart. Step your right foot back toward the end of the mat and drop the knee down. Ensure that the left knee is located right above the ankle, keeping a ninety degree angle. You may find it helpful to gently push the knee outward to the left side to keep the correct alignment. Keep the hands in line with the feet by either coming on the tips of the fingers or keeping the palms flat on the floor. Sink the hips down, lengthen the spine and look up. Open the chest by drawing the shoulders back, gently squeezing the shoulder blades together. Ensure that the shoulders remain
down and away from the ears. This posture can be followed by downward facing dog as a counter stretch. From there you can step forward with your right leg and come into the pose again on the other side. It is recommended to stay on each side for at least five deep breaths.
There are several variations to this posture. You can keep your knee lifted up by engaging the thighs and lifting the knee caps. This is also called as the runner’s lunge and is a more intense version of the pose. Another variation is to lift the arms up over the head and stretch back. This gives a deep back bend and opens the chest and heart region.
The benefits of this posture are many. The hip flexors, which often get tight from sitting throughout the day, get stretched deeply. The front of the thighs get stretched as you drop the hips lower down. The spine becomes elongated and the chest opens up.
The contraindications for this pose are knee injuries. If you have a knee injury, make sure to keep some padding under your knee. This may be in the form of a towel, folding the mat double, or keeping a small blanket below.
- Stretches the hip flexors
- Stretches the thighs
- Lengthens the spine
- Knee injuries
- Stretches Spinal Erector Muscles
- Stretches the hip flexor
- Engages the quadriceps