In yoga a lunge is a basic standing pose that stretches and strengthens the whole body. A lunge is good for building balance and muscle strength and is a great practice to enhance your flexibility.
A lunge requires focus and attention but you don’t have to be able to do a handstand or advanced moves to enjoy the benefits of this yoga pose. It is appropriate for all levels of classes from pre-natal to advanced styles of yoga and is very good for runners because of its strong stretch in hamstrings and hip flexors.
The Lunge Is Called Anjaneyasana Pose
The lunge in Sanskrit language is called Anjaneyasana (AHN-jah-nay-AHS-uh-nuh) and it comes from the name of the Indian God Hanuman. The name Anjaneya is the root word and it is for Hanumans mother whose name is Anjani. Hanuman is one of the main characters in the Indian epic tale Ramayana and is important in traditional Indian Holy worship.
In Sanskrit the word “anjaneya” can mean “praise” or “salutation” and “asana” is the word for pose or seat. The name Crescent Lunge Pose is typically used in English and it can be performed as one of the 12 poses of the traditional Hatha yoga Sun Salutation sequence.
Benefits of Crescent Lunge Pose
Crescent Lunge Pose may be a beginners pose but, though it can appear to be simple, it can prove to be very testing. This stance gives the hamstrings, crotch, quadriceps, and hips a good stretch, and also permits a full scope of movement in the lower body. As we have already mentioned it is good for cyclists and runners too.
This move will strengthen your balance and legs, stretch the hips and groin, open the chest, and strengthen the arms.
As it works the lower body it improves your posture, is good for the breathing, helps build focus, concentration and your core strength, especially in the legs.
The exercise can be performed at any level, so don’t worry if you’re just getting back into your workout routine. Standing yoga poses are so good for building and toning the muscles in your legs, including your quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves.
How To Do Crescent Lunge Pose
This lunge is a pose where one leg is positioned forward with the knee bent and the foot flat on the floor while the other leg is placed behind.
Depending on the particular lunge you are doing, the back knee can be down or up, the toes may be tucked or untucked, while the arms are usually raised.
Crescent Lunge Pose can be started from any of three yoga positions, either Mountain Pose, Forward Bend or Downward Facing Dog. For instruction we will begin with Mountain Pose.
- Stand erect in Mountain pose (Tadasana) with your feet together and your arms at your sides.
- Put your weight across the forward part of your feet and breathe steady.
- Center yourself and draw your awareness inward.
- On the inhale, raise your arms overhead, and exhale to a standing forward bend (Uttanasana).
- Inhale and look up, placing the hands to the sides of the feet.
- Exhale and step your right foot back toward the back edge of your mat, with the ball of the foot on the floor like a high lunge.
- Exhale, bend your left leg and bring the right knee to the mat.
- Inhale and raise your arms over your head reaching toward the ceiling.
- Exhale, sink your hips, draw the tail bone in and lift your pubic bone towards the stomach.
- Then arch your back and chest with your eyes looking upwards, thus making the Crescent Lunge Pose.
- To exit the pose, lower your arms and put your hands down to the floor.
- Bring the back foot forward and on the exhale, return to a standing forward bend (Uttanasana).
- Inhale and go back to Mountain Pose (Tadasana).
- To repeat this exercise do it on the other side.
Different Versions of Crescent Lunge Pose
There are several variations of this pose with an easier version being the low lunge pose, where the back knee is bent and lowered down to the mat. Al;so, in order to make this pose a little easier, one can place yoga blocks under the hands.
Some yogis do Reclined Lunge (eka pada sukha balasana) and it is also noted that the Crescent Lunge Pose is very similar to Warrior I Pose. Both Crescent and Warrior 1 postures are entered from Tadasana, or Mountain Pose.
More Benefits of Crescent Lunge
Considered a balance pose, backbend, and heart opener, Crescent Lunge helps the upper body to expand and the lower body to balance and strengthen.
Our legs and feet are the roots and foundations of our yoga practice. The first two chakras are located near the legs, the root and sacral chakra, so opening and strengthening these areas can enhance both stability and creativity. Additionally this can boost sensuality and pleasure in addition to getting some very sexy legs.
What Crescent Lunge Does:
- Strengthens your knees, ankles and waist
- Stretches and tones your legs, especially thighs
- Opens your groin, hips and makes the gluteus muscles and the quadriceps stronger
- Lengthens the spine, thereby stretching the shoulders, lungs, and chest
- Increases stamina and lung capacity
- Stimulates abdominals organs plus the digestive and reproductive organs
- Increases your ability to concentrate and also builds core awareness
When you practice standing yoga poses like these, your weight shifts across both feet which encourages your feet and leg muscles to keep you upright and stable. This builds muscle definition and also helps prevent injury while helping to improve full-body coordination.
If you practice this asana regularly, your body will be toned and energized. The opening up of the lungs tosses out all the bodily fluids, giving the lungs decent rinses.
Don’t perform this pose in case of high blood pressure or with knee injuries.
If you are suffering from shoulder problems then don’t raise your arms above your head. In this case you can keep your hands on your thighs.
If you have a neck problem then don’t look behind.
Use A Licensed Yoga Teacher
It is good to perform these Asanas in front of an expert person. To practice these poses with a licensed yoga teacher, check out the yoga class schedules in your area or use some of the online yoga classes and programs.
If you have any sort of knee injury, we especially recommend that you consult a practitioner before performing high lunge.
Better balance and a more toned booty can both be yours by doing these good yoga lunges.
Crescent Lunge Pose And The Chakras
Lunge variations are sometimes incorporated as part of Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation), a flowing sequence of asanas linked by breath.
In Sun Salutation each pose from the sequence energizes one of the seven chakras, from root to crown.
The Crescent Lunge Pose works on the ajna (third eye chakra), which is responsible for good intuition and clear perception. It can help you to follow your own Truth plus this pose stimulates the sacral chakra and opens the heart chakra.
With so many benefits to its credit the Crescent Lunge Pose can open your yoga practice as it tones and tightens your muscles and tunes your focus and awareness for the better.
Color picture Courtesy of Joseph RENGER – Own work
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