Stretch your lower body and spine, boost your energy, and reduce fatigue with Crescent Lunge Pose…
Crescent Lunge Pose (Anjaneyasana), also known as High Lunge or Runner’s Lunge, is a wonderful beginner-level yoga stretch for the lower body and spine. This standing yoga pose also helps to build strength in the legs, promote stability in the torso, and stretch the chest, lungs, shoulders, arms, and hips, groin and back muscles. It is also good for helping to improve your balance and posture, and is thought to boost energy and improve the mood.
While similar to the Warrior I Pose, Crescent Lunge differs mainly in the foot placement. With Crescent Lunge, your back heel will lift off the floor as you keep your hips square and facing forward. Warrior I offers a slightly different and more advanced stretch for the groin as you keep your heel on the floor and rotate your toes outward. If you have tight hips, practice Crescent Lunge before moving on to Warrior I.
Avoid this pose if you have a knee or back injury, high blood pressure, or heart problems.
How to Do Crescent Lunge Pose, according to YogaInternational.com:
- From downward facing dog, step your right foot forward between your hands (taking as many steps as you need to get there). Make sure your right foot is flat on the floor, and your right knee stacked directly over your right heel.
- Stack your left (back) heel over the ball of your foot, and press the back of your left thigh up toward the sky, keeping your back leg straight and strong.
- Press your fingertips into the floor, and stretch your chest (not your chin!) forward.
- Keep your back thigh lifted and your front knee bending as you place your interlaced hands onto your front thigh.
- Press your hands into your thigh and feel the corresponding lift in your belly (especially on the right side).
- Keep that support as you lift your torso upright, extending your arms alongside your ears.
- Draw your low ribs back. Stretch your legs apart from each other as though you were stretching your mat in two, and reach up through soft fingers.
- If you like, you can begin moving into a slight backbend, keeping the backbend primarily in your middle and upper back, broadening and lifting your chest and letting your head and arms follow the movement backward. Maintain length in the back of your neck, and avoid tossing your head back.
- To come out of the backbend, lead with your chest, your head and arms coming out of the backbend last.
If you find this stretch too intense, you can also vary the pose by resting your back knee on the floor, but work up to the full pose as you are able. If for an added challenge to your balance, try practicing with your eyes closed!