Low Lunge or Anjaneyasana is a dynamic standing yoga pose that utilizes and integrates the muscles in your entire body. It stretches and strengthens the lower and upper body, while creating stability and balance. Anjaneyasana or Low Lunge Pose demands a strong sense of balance combined with a certain degree of openness in the legs, hips, and groin, all in a deceptively easy looking package. This is also known as Crescent Lunge.
What You Should Know Before You Do The Asana
This asana must be performed on an empty stomach. You must have your meals at least four to six hours before you practice yoga. You must also make sure that your bowels are empty. Do not practice Crescent Lunge if you are currently experiencing high blood pressure or heart problems. Also, avoid this pose if you have a knee or spinal injury. Always work within your own range of limits and abilities.
How To Do The Anjaneyasana : Step-by-Step Instructions
- Begin in Downward-Facing Dog or Adho Mukha Svanasana. On an exhale, step your right foot forward between your hands.
- Lower down onto your left knee and release the top of the left foot on the ground.
- Ensure that the right knee is stacked directly over the right ankle, and isn’t moving forward toward the toes or outward to the left or right (this protects the knee from injury). Keep the knee directly over the ankle if it feels like enough for your body—you should feel a comfortable stretch along the left front thigh and groin. For a deeper sensation, you can inch the right foot forward on the mat until you find an edge that feels appropriate for your body.
- Take your fingertips to the ground on either side of your hips (you can also rest both hands on the front knee if taking the fingertips down feels like too much) and relax your shoulders away from your ears. As you continue to breathe deeply, soften the weight of your body down into your hips, and draw your tailbone down toward the ground.
- Feel free to remain here, with your hands on your knee or your fingertips beside you for support, or experiment with extending one or both arms up alongside your ears and moving into a backbend (as shown above). Take five to 10 breaths in your expression of Low Lunge, whatever that might look like.
- To come out of the pose, tuck your back toes under, plant your palms down on the mat, and make your way back into Downward-Facing Dog. Take several breaths in Down Dog, bending the knees, then repeat on the other side.
Keep the following information in mind when practicing this pose. One of the principles of yoga is not to seek the fruits of your actions. Practice for its own sake, without regard to success or failure. This is the way to equanimity.
- Build the pose from the ground up. Work on getting the foot and leg placement first. Set your feet, then adjust your legs. Then, align your hips. Finally, lift your torso and extend your arms.
- Place your hands on your hip bones to determine whether they are squared to the front of your mat. Draw the hip of your front leg back, and the opposite hip forward.
- Lengthen your tailbone toward the floor instead of dipping your pelvis forward. This allows for greater length in your lower back.
- Make sure your front knee stays aligned with your front ankle. Do not allow the knee to drift to the left — this can strain the knee joint. Instead, draw it slightly outward toward the baby toe.
- Strongly engage the thigh of your back leg to keep it straight. Shift your back heel forward so your heel is over your toes — this provides a deep stretch for the toes and foot.
- Keep your feet hip-width apart. If they are on one line, it can be very difficult to balance.
To improve balance practice this pose facing a wall. Press the big toe of the front foot against the wall and stretch your arms up, finger tips to the wall.
Modifications & Variations
Try these changes to find a version of the pose that works best for you right now:
- If the High Lunge version is too difficult, or if you are warming up for your practice, do the Low Lunge version instead. Bring your back knee to the mat and un-tuck your back toes.
- For a deeper stretch in the quadriceps, bend your back knee and draw your toes up to the ceiling. Reach back with the same-side hand, clasping the top of your foot, and draw your heel in toward your buttocks. Keep the length of your upper torso throughout this variation.
- Place your hands on your hips if you have a shoulder injury or if you are still building upper body strength.
- To help improve balance, practice this pose facing a wall and press the big toe of your front foot against the wall. Reach your arms up and slightly forward, resting your fingertips on the wall.
Benefits Of The Anjaneyasana
- This pose stretches the gluteus maximus and the quadriceps.
- This pose helps to strengthen as well as tone the muscles in the shoulders and the arms.
- Regular practice of this pose leads to greater strength and flexibility in your legs, knees, hips, arms, shoulders, and abdomen.
- It helps one to strengthen one’s balance.
- It also stimulates the reproductive organs and helps with digestion as well.
- It is advisable for people who are suffering from sciatica as it stretches the hamstrings and leg muscles.
- This pose is also beneficial for the heart.
- It stretches and stimulates the lower body.
Crescent Lunge can be a powerful way to build strength, balance, and concentration. As you practice this pose on a regular basis, you’ll create equanimity in all areas of your life. Finding ease in Crescent Lunge will allow you to establish the qualities of balance, grace, and power, even off the mat!