Crescent Lunge or Anjaneyasana is a dynamic standing pose that energizes and utilizes major muscle groups in the body. It strengthens and stretches both upper and lower body, all while creating balance and awareness. This pose can be met with great enthusiasm as it can meet anyone at any level in their practice (yes, even those with sciatica pain!). For beginners this pose can be gentle with the support of the opposite knee on the earth with a mild backbend incorporated if wanted and for advanced students the knee can be lifted, deep backbend met or twist/binds added.
Benefits (from gaia.com)
- Strengthens your quadriceps and gluteus muscles
- Stretches the hips
- Relieves sciatica pain
- Expands and opens the chest, lungs and shoulders
- Engages and tones thighs
- Prepares the body for childbirth by creating more room in the pelvis
- Start in Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana).
- On exhalation step right foot through and place inside right palm. Line up right ankle up with right knee and lower left knee to the earth keeping it behind the hips. Toes can stay curled under for stability or lower to the top of the foot to the earth.
- On inhalation raise torso and sweep arms up and over your head with palms facing each other. Relax shoulders down and away from the ears allowing the shoulder blades to roll down the back. On the next exhale allow the hips to relax forward and down until you feel a nice stretch in the front of the left leg.
- Slightly tuck the tailbone, lengthening your back muscles and engaging the core. Start to draw you thumbs back (even hooking thumbs if you’d like), lift through the heart and shift gaze up for a little backbend.
- Stay here with the supported leg down or curl toes under if they weren’t already, lift the left knee and lengthen leg for Full Crescent Lunge.
- To come out of pose frame the right foot with palms and step back to Downward Facing Dog and repeat with the left leg forward.
- Palms can touch when raised overhead or palms come to the sides for a “V” shape.
- Add a twist by bringing hands to heart center and twisting to the right first or place left palm to the inside of the right foot on the earth or a block and twist open to the right.
- For advanced students you can add a bind by coming to a twist to the right, allowing the left forearm to press into the outer right thigh, right arm comes behind you and clasp hands together between the legs (use a strap or scarf to build to full bind).