Skandasana (Side Lunge or God of War Pose) – Definition & Detailed Explanation – Asanas (Yoga Poses) Glossary

I. What is Skandasana?

Skandasana, also known as Side Lunge Pose, is a yoga asana that stretches and strengthens the legs, hips, and groin. This pose is named after Skanda, the Hindu god of war, who is often depicted riding a peacock. Skandasana is a powerful pose that requires balance, flexibility, and strength. It is a great way to open up the hips and improve flexibility in the lower body.

II. How to perform Skandasana

To perform Skandasana, start in a standing position with your feet hip-width apart. Take a wide step to the right, turning your right foot out at a 90-degree angle and keeping your left foot parallel to the back of your mat. Bend your right knee, lowering your hips down towards the floor. Keep your left leg straight and strong.

Place your hands in prayer position at your heart center, or extend your arms out to the sides at shoulder height for balance. Keep your chest lifted and your spine long. Hold the pose for 5-10 breaths, then switch sides.

III. Benefits of Skandasana

Skandasana offers a wide range of benefits for the body and mind. Some of the key benefits include:

1. Hip opening: Skandasana stretches the inner thighs, groin, and hips, helping to improve flexibility and mobility in these areas.
2. Strengthens the legs: This pose strengthens the quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves, helping to build stability and support in the lower body.
3. Improves balance: Skandasana requires focus and concentration, helping to improve balance and coordination.
4. Energizes the body: This pose can help to invigorate the body and mind, leaving you feeling refreshed and energized.
5. Relieves stress: Skandasana can help to release tension in the hips and lower back, promoting a sense of relaxation and calm.

IV. Precautions and contraindications for Skandasana

While Skandasana can offer many benefits, it is important to practice this pose with caution and awareness. Some precautions and contraindications to keep in mind include:

1. Knee injuries: If you have a knee injury or experience pain in your knees while performing Skandasana, it is best to avoid this pose or modify it to suit your needs.
2. Hip issues: If you have hip issues or discomfort in the hips, approach Skandasana with caution and listen to your body’s limits.
3. Pregnancy: Pregnant women should avoid deep lunges and twists, so it is best to avoid Skandasana during pregnancy.
4. High blood pressure: If you have high blood pressure, it is important to avoid deep lunges and forward bends, so consult with a healthcare provider before practicing Skandasana.

V. Variations of Skandasana

There are several variations of Skandasana that can help to modify the pose and make it more accessible for different levels of practitioners. Some variations include:

1. Half Skandasana: Instead of taking a full lunge, keep the back knee lifted off the ground and focus on stretching the inner thigh of the front leg.
2. Supported Skandasana: Use a block or bolster under the hips for support and stability in the pose.
3. Revolved Skandasana: Twist the torso towards the front leg, placing one hand on the ground and the other reaching up towards the sky.

VI. Tips for practicing Skandasana

To get the most out of your Skandasana practice, here are some tips to keep in mind:

1. Warm up: Before attempting Skandasana, warm up the body with some gentle stretches and movements to prepare the muscles and joints.
2. Focus on alignment: Pay attention to the alignment of your hips, knees, and feet in Skandasana to ensure proper form and avoid injury.
3. Breathe deeply: Remember to breathe deeply and evenly throughout the pose to help calm the mind and deepen the stretch.
4. Listen to your body: If you experience any pain or discomfort in Skandasana, back off and modify the pose as needed to suit your body’s needs.
5. Practice regularly: Consistent practice of Skandasana can help to improve flexibility, strength, and balance over time.

In conclusion, Skandasana is a powerful yoga pose that offers a wide range of benefits for the body and mind. By practicing this pose with awareness and caution, you can experience increased flexibility, strength, and balance in your practice. Remember to listen to your body, modify the pose as needed, and enjoy the journey of exploring this dynamic and energizing pose.