Crescent Pose / High Lunge  -Anjaneyasana

Step by step

  • Start in Downward Facing Dog Pose.
  • Inhale raise the right leg behind you and then exhale as you step the right foot forward between your hands.
  • Check that the right knee is aligned above the right ankle.
  • Ground through the feet, pull your lower abs in as you exhale, then inhale sweeping your arms out and up, palms facing towards each other
  • Bend your back knee a little, lengthen your tailbone down towards the floor, then extend through the back leg, opening and stretching the sole of the foot.
  • Open your chest and draw your front ribs down into your torso.
  • Stay for five breaths.
  • Bring your hands onto the floor by your right foot as you exhale.
  • Step your right foot back into a Downward Facing Dog pose.
  • Repeat with the left foot coming forward.

Beginners tips

  • Don't worry if you find it difficult to step the foot forward between your hands - it's very common! Read Esther Ekhart's tips for some help stepping into Lunge from Downward Dog. You can also begin the pose from a standing position at the back of your mat and step one foot forward.
  • To help with stability, keep the back leg active and press firmly through the feet.
  • Without moving your feet, imagine drawing them closer to each other in a scissoring action to engage your legs.
  • Keep the hips - your centre of gravity - low and level, facing the front of the mat.

Benefits

  • Helps with mobility in the hip-flexors and the feet.
  • Strengthens the legs.
  • Improves balance and stability.

Watch out for

  • Be careful not to overarch your lower back. Keep your tailbone lengthened. 
  • Watch that the front knee is not falling in towards the big toe side of the foot.
  • The knee should not come further forward than the toes to protect the knee.

Variations

  • Hold the pose for longer or add dips bringing the back knee to hover just above the floor.
  • Try the twist variation: Place your hands in Angali Mudra (prayer position) in front of your heart. Inhale and lengthen your spine. Exhale and place your left elbow outside your right knee. Keep lengthening your spine and pressing your knee into your elbow. Repeat on the other side.
  • Transition into Warrior III pose by stepping the weight into the front foot as you inhale and lifting the back foot to come into the pose as you exhale.