How to Do Crescent Lunge Pose (Anjaneyasana) in Yoga

Proper Form, Variations, and Common Mistakes

Crescent Lunge
Verywell / Ben Goldstein

Targets: Hip flexors, quadriceps, ankles, core balance, spinal flexion

Level: Beginner

Crescent Lunge Pose (Anjaneyasana) is a deep stretch for the hip flexors and quadriceps. It can also be a little bit of a backbend if you want it to be. It is a familiar pose that is found in the Sun Salutation C sequence.

Benefits

Crescent Lunge Pose stretches the hip flexors and quadriceps. This is a useful counter-stretch for front load-bearing workouts such as cycling and running, as well as for those who sit much of the day. It also opens the chest, shoulders, and torso. You can practice it to build your balance and stability. As a heart-opener, it is considered to be energizing.

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Watch Now: How to Do a Crescent Lunge Pose

Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. From a low lunge, drop your back knee (the left knee, in this case) to the mat. If your knee is sensitive, you can place a blanket under your knee or double up your yoga mat for more cushioning.
  2. Bring your hands onto your right knee and your right knee directly over your right ankle.
  3. Inhale and raise your arms above your head, keeping the arms in line with your ears.
  4. To deepen into the lunge press firmly into your feet as you allow your hips to shift forward. As you do, your left thigh comes closer to the floor. To support engagement and to avoid sinking into the joints, hug your inner thighs in towards one another to create adduction.
  5. You may take the upper spine into a backbend if that feels comfortable.
  6. Exhale to release the hands down, reframe the front foot, and release the pose.
  7. Repeat on the left side.

Common Mistakes

Be sure not to deepen the front knee quickly, and listen to your body as you move. Make sure the front knee stays stacked over the ankle, even while deepening into the lunge to avoid overextending the knee joint's range of motion. If you notice any discomfort in that knee, be sure to stop and back off to avoid further pain and possible injury. Keep the back foot straight—do not let it sneak inward. 

Modifications and Variations

If you have knee pain, there are a few things you can try. Likewise, you can tweak this pose for added stability challenge.

Need a Modification?

Try to shift your weight forward in an effort to rest more on the upper thigh versus the knee joint. This slight adjustment may be enough to relieve discomfort in the knee.

If putting any weight at all on the back knee is not an option, you could also try padding the knee by either folding your mat for added cushion or used a blanket for support.

If balance is an issue, keep your hands on the ground, perhaps using blocks to bring the floor to you with hands framing your front foot. Palms resting on the front thigh is also an option. Tucking the back toes under may also support your body feeling balanced and supported.

Up for a Challenge?

To deepen the quad stretch, bend your left knee so that the sole of your foot is facing the ceiling. Drop your left hand and take hold of the top of your left foot. Pull your heel toward your buttock.

To improve your balance, close your eyes when holding this pose.

Safety and Precautions

This pose is not recommended if you have a knee or back injury.

Note that, in most yoga poses with a bent knee, you should be careful not to bring your knee in front of your ankle since that is a vulnerable position for the knee. Anjaneyasana is one of the few poses where you are encouraged to deepen into the front shin past being perpendicular with the floor in order get a really deep hip stretch. This is safe because of the stability offered by having the back knee on the floor.

Try It Out

Incorporate this move and similar ones into one of these popular workouts:

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