About a year ago I started to integrate Lunging Salutations, sometimes referred to as Sun Salutation C, into my teaching. Most of my students are familiar with Sun Salutation A with the hop or step back through Chaturanga, so the stepping back into a lunge has taken them a while to integrate into their practice. However, a lot of students have been very pleased with the variation and now come to expect it in my classes. I've even had some students tell me they do them at home on their own. Very proud yoga teacher moment!
Just like my students, for the longest time I was only familiar with variations on Sun Salutation A and B. I was confused with the step back and step forward of the Lunging Salutation when I first experienced it in a class in 2012. I was always so concerned with stepping the wrong foot forward or backward and being on a different side than the rest of the class. Of course I eventually came to my senses and realized it didn't matter what leg was forward or backward. Once I got over my hangups and got into the flow I found that Lunging Salutations felt so good in my body. It's such a simple structure but flows so beautifully. When I don't have a lot of time for my own practice I'm sure to get in a few Lunging Salutations every day.
In the first module of my 300 Hour Teacher Training with Jason Crandell we worked on teaching Sun Salutations. Jason's class was my first exposure to Lunging Salutations back in 2012. Nothing has really changed in his teaching. Five years later Jason still emphasizes the importance of teaching Lunging Salutations. During training he put into words why Lunging Salutations felt so good in my body and why they're important in a Vinyasa practice: We spend so much time stretching the backline of the body in yoga and Lunging Salutations allow for the frontline to open up.
Duh! No wonder lunging forward and backward feels so good in my body! I've spent years stretching the back of my legs and digging deep into my hamstrings with dance and yoga. The front of my hips and thighs, as like most Americans, are pretty tight and need some attention too. Don't get me wrong, stretching the back of the body is important, but when working with a society that sits for an ungodly amount of time you have to move the body in a way that doesn't resemble sitting in a chair. Thankfully we have lunges.
Since I started doing daily Lunging Salutations my longtime hamstring injury has for the most part chilled out, my form and alignment while running has shifted to a more efficient gait, and I've cultivated more freedom in my backbends. Try them out! Integrate some lunges into your practice. How's it feel for you?