Crescent Lunge
AÑJANEYĀSANA (अंजनेयासन)
(AHN-jah-nay-AHH-sah-nah)

 


‘Añjaneya’= son of Anjana (monkey god) or Lord Hanumān, ‘āsana’= posture


Alternate Names

Low Lunge Pose

Half Lunge Pose
Crescent Low Lunge Pose
Crescent Moon Pose
Lunge Pose (Banarasana or Vanarasana)
Ashwa Sanchalasana
Anjana’s or Hanuman’s Pose

Difficulty Level: Beginner
Pose Type: Standing / Back-Bend / Stretch / Balance

1. Start in Mountain Pose (Tadasana), with your legs slightly apart (about hip distance), keeping the back straight, shoulders and arms down, and palms facing forward. Raise your arms and bend down into a forward bend, placing your palms on the mat, slightly bending the knees.
2. Step your right leg straight back into a lunge on the ball of your foot. Make sure your left knee is stacked over your ankle. Lower your right knee (behind the hip) to the mat and extend your right foot so that the top of your foot is on the mat.
3. Lift your chest and place your hands on your hips. Make sure that your hips are squared forward and that your left knee is in line with your ankle, perpendicular. Sink into your hips, rooting your left foot and right knee / shin to the mat.
4. Lift your arms above your head to frame your ears. Keep your shoulders broad, and your shoulder blades flat, opening your chest. Your palms can either face each other or can be clasped overhead in Jupiter Mudra or Prayer Mudra.
5. Inhale and bend back slightly, lifting the chest and arching the back to look like a crescent moon. Lift through your sides and chest, extending the spine up through your arms to your fingertips.
6. Hold the posture for several breaths (about 20 seconds to increase strength).
7. When you’re ready, release the pose back into Mountain Pose (Tadasana). Repeat on the other side.

Common Adjustments
• Strained neck
• Shoulders tense and raised to ears
• Arms too far forward, back, or out to the side
• Front knee not stacked over ankle / extending past the ankle and/or toes
• Foot not straight
• Back leg not straight back from the hips
• Trouble balancing or leaning to either side

Modifications
• Students with shoulder or neck discomfort can either stretch their arms out in front (parallel to the floor), place their palms on blocks by the front foot, practice with arms down and slightly back when they arch the back, or they can place their hands on the thigh of the front leg, instead of overhead.
• Students with knee discomfort can place a blanket, folded mat, bolster, or pillow under the back knee for protection and support. For the front knee, they can place a folded mat or blanket under the ball or heel of the front foot, or they can also place a chair under the front thigh for support and balance.
• Students with spine or back injuries should keep their back straight with their gaze forward and down.
• For students with tight hips / psoas, move the front foot out to the side, so the hips can move forward.
• To strengthen the quadriceps and ankles, do not lower the back leg to the floor. Leave it extended with your foot flexed on the balls of your feet for a Crescent High Lunge (Ashta Chandrasana).
• To challenge your balance, practice with your eyes closed. If you want to improve your balance, practice facing a wall with the big toe of your front foot and your fingertips against the wall.

Counter Poses
• Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
• Child’s Pose (Balasana)
• Forward Bend, Standing (Uttanasana) or Half Forward Bend, Standing (Ardha Uttanasana)
• Plank (Phalakasana)
• Split Pose (Hanumanasana)

Anatomy
• Chest (Pectoralis Major)Shoulders (Deltoids)
• Triceps and Biceps• Abdomen (Core) and Obliques
• Lower Back (Lumbar) and Spine• Hips (Iliopsoas and Psoas)
• Gluteus Maximus and Medius• Quadriceps and Hamstrings
• Calf muscles• Knees

Benefits
• Stretches the chest, abdomen, hips, psoas, glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, shoulders, knees, and ankles.
• Strengthens the chest, shoulders, back, arms, ankles, knees, glutes, quadriceps and hamstrings.
• Releases tension in the hips and glutes, which can be therapeutic for students with sciatica, as well as reduces stiffness around the neck and shoulders.
• Improves joint health by flexing the knees, ankles, shoulders, neck, and hips.
• Improves balance and focus, develops will power and confidence, which stimulates the mind. This also balances the nervous system, which helps with insomnia.
• Improves endurance and stability.
• Improves the Respiratory System and the Circulatory System by opening the chest and breathing through the diaphragm, which is therapeutic for students with asthma.
• Improves the function of internal organs, which stimulates the digestive system and reproductive system.

Contraindications
1. Students with severe neck, knee and/or hip injury or have high blood pressure should avoid this pose.
2. Students with neck, shoulder, knee and/or hip discomfort should practice with modifications and/or props.
3. Students with heart complications should avoid this pose.

Chakras
Chakra One:Root or Muladhara (root support) Chakra. This is the survival and gravity chakra. Its goals are stability, grounding, prosperity, right livelihood, and physical health. Its location is the base of the spine, coccygeal plexus, legs, feet, and large intestines.
Chakra Two:Sacral or Svadhisthana (sweetness) Chakra. This is the chakra for emotion, sexuality, and attraction of opposites. Its goals are fluidity, pleasure, and relaxation. Its location is the abdomen, genitals, lower back, and hips.
Ckakra Three:Solar Plexus, Self-Power, or Manipura (lustrous gem) Chakra. This is the combustion, power, and energy chakra. Its goals are vitality, strength of will, and purpose. Its location is the solar plexus.
Chakra Four:Heart, Love, or Anahata (Unstuck) Chakra. This is the love and equilibrium chakra. Its goals are balance, compassion, and acceptance. Its location is the heart.

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