Skandasana: Everything your need to know


Skandasana, commonly known as the Side Lunge Pose, is a powerful and versatile yoga asana that targets multiple muscle groups while enhancing flexibility and balance. This pose is particularly beneficial for athletes and anyone looking to improve their lower body strength and mobility. In this blog post, we will explore what Skandasana is, its benefits, modifications for beginners and advanced practitioners, and tips on how to improve your ability to perform this pose effectively.

Scroll down for a class from Vikasa teacher Niki and be guided through beginner and advanced options of Skandasana.

Want to train with us here in person at Vikasa? Check the bottom of this post to find out how to win a Vikasa Yoga Teacher Training. 

Understanding Skandasana

Skandasana, derived from the Sanskrit words “Skanda” (meaning “warrior”) and “Asana” (meaning “pose”), is a yoga posture that involves a deep lateral lunge. The pose requires a combination of strength, balance, and flexibility, making it an excellent addition to any yoga practice.

To get into Skandasana, start in a wide-legged standing position. Turn your right foot outwards and bend your right knee, lowering your hips towards the right heel while keeping the left leg straight. Your hands can be placed on the floor for balance or brought together at your heart center in a prayer position. The gaze is forward, and the spine remains long and extended.

Benefits of Skandasana

  • Strengthens Lower Body: Skandasana engages the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and inner thighs, making it an effective strength-building exercise for the lower body.

  • Enhances Flexibility: This pose stretches the hamstrings, adductors, and groin, promoting greater flexibility in the hips and legs.

  • Improves Balance: The lateral shift in weight challenges your balance and stability, enhancing proprioception and coordination.

  • Opens Hips: Skandasana is excellent for opening and mobilizing the hip joints, which is beneficial for anyone with tight hips or lower back issues.

  • Boosts Circulation: By engaging large muscle groups and stretching deeply, Skandasana helps improve blood circulation, which can aid in muscle recovery and overall vitality.

Modifications for Beginners

  1. Use Props: Beginners may find it challenging to balance in Skandasana. Using blocks under the hands can provide additional support and stability.

  2. Partial Lunge: Instead of lowering completely to the heel, beginners can perform a partial lunge, keeping the hips higher and reducing the depth of the pose.

  3. Wall Support: Practicing near a wall allows beginners to use the wall for balance, helping them to focus on alignment and gradually increase their flexibility and strength.


Advanced Variations

For seasoned yogis looking to deepen their practice, here are some advanced variations to explore:

  • Arm Bind: Advanced practitioners can add an arm bind by threading the opposite arm under the bent knee and reaching around the back, clasping the hands together.

  • Twist: Adding a twist can intensify the pose. From Skandasana, twist your torso towards the extended leg, reaching the opposite arm to the outside of the foot.

  • Dynamic Movement: Transitioning dynamically between sides, moving from one Skandasana to the other without coming to a standing position, can add an extra challenge and build endurance.


Why Practice Skandasana?

Practicing Skandasana regularly can significantly improve your overall yoga practice and physical health. It targets areas often neglected in daily movements, such as the inner thighs and hip flexors, and enhances lower body strength and stability. Additionally, Skandasana encourages mindful movement and breath awareness, promoting mental clarity and focus.


Tips to Improve Your Skandasana

  1. Warm-Up: Always start with a proper warm-up to prepare your muscles and joints. Dynamic stretches and poses like Warrior II and Triangle Pose can help.

  2. Consistent Practice: Consistency is key. Incorporate Skandasana into your regular yoga routine to gradually build strength and flexibility.

  3. Mindful Alignment: Pay attention to your body’s alignment. Ensure your knee tracks over your toes, and avoid collapsing into the lower back.

  4. Breathing: Use your breath to deepen the pose. Inhale to lengthen the spine and exhale to sink deeper into the lunge.

  5. Listen to Your Body: Respect your limits and avoid pushing yourself too hard. Progress will come with time and practice.

Let’s Practice!

Skandasana offers a multitude of physical and mental benefits. Whether you are a beginner seeking stability or an advanced practitioner craving a challenge, the variations and modifications of this pose ensure accessibility to practitioners of all levels. 

Every month at Vikasa we are offer a ‘Pose of the Month’ challenge to help inspire and educate our global Vikasa community on new poses that you can try yourself and work on mastering at home. 

WIN a YTT with us!

Share a post of you doing your version of the pose of the month and go into the running to WIN:

  • Our full Online 200hr Foundation Yoga Teacher Training (valued at $1,000) 
  • OR $1,000 off one of our in-person Yoga Teacher Training Programs at Vikasa here in Koh Samui, Thailand. 

Both training options enable you to become a certified yoga teacher and teach anywhere around the world. 

All you need to do to enter is:

  1. Share a post in your IG feed of you doing the pose of the month
  2. Tag us IN the post
  3. Share it to your stories and tag us 

We hope you enjoy learning and advancing each month with us and we’re excited to gift one lucky winner a month with the chance to become a Vikasa yoga teacher too. 

Enjoy your FREE CLASS with Niki below to learn this month’s pose of the month- Skandasana.