Oddly, given how often this pose shows up in most yoga classes, the high lunge has no agreed upon Sanskrit name. No matter, it is still a highly beneficial pose that you will come back to time and time again.
Begin in downward dog. On an inhale, reach your right leg behind you, pressing the floor away with your hands and lengthening your spine. As you exhale, take your right foot in-between your hands. Take a moment to connect to the floor through the feet. Then, as you inhale again, reach the arms overhead with the palms either facing each-other or lightly touching. Keep a slight bend in the left leg as you tuck the tailbone and lengthen through the spine. It should feel like you are drawing length up the front side of the body, from the left quad into the hips, up through the belly and chest, all the way through the shoulders and out through the finger tips. This is a back bend that should come not by leaning back, but from lifting up and over.
Make sure you have as much weight in the right heel as the right big toe mount. You should be able to feel the hamstring engage as well as the quad. Keep the hips square and check that the right thigh and the right foot both point straight forward. As you hold, let the breath flow through the pose to take you deeper. (i.e. notice the way the body shifts with the breath and then use that to gently open a little further).
Hold for as long as feels comfortable, then bring the hands down, step back to downward dog, and repeat on the second side.
If you have any questions, please leave a comment below. I’d love to hear from you or see you at one of my classes!