Crescent Lunge Pose or Anjaneyasana

Proper Form, Variations, and Common Mistakes

How to Do Crescent Lunge - Anjaneyasana
Crescent Lunge - Anjaneyasana. Ann Pizer

Targets: Hip opener, quadriceps

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 useful for cyclists and 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. Exhale and deepen forward into the lunge, bending the right knee more if possible. As you deepen, your left hip comes closer to the floor. 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.
  5. You may take the upper spine into a backbend if that feels comfortable.
  6. Inhale to come out, bringing the front knee back over the ankle.
  1. Repeat on the left side.

Common Mistakes

Deepen the front knee slowly, being mindful of any pain in that knee. Back off if you feel pain. Keep the back foot straight—do not let it sickle inwards. 

Modifications and Variations

Need a Modification?

If you have knee pain, there are a few things you can try. Tucking the back toes under seems to help some people. This is a perfectly acceptable modification. Another thing to try is to tuck the back toes under and lift the back knee up from the mat. Then replace the knee on the floor, but try to roll it back a bit so that you actually come down more on the very bottom of your thigh instead of the boniest part of the knee. This slight adjustment is often enough to relieve the pain.

If putting any weight at all on the back knee is not an option, you could also try the pose with that knee lifted off the ground. You could do this either with the toes tucked or with the top of the foot flat on the floor, which would be a little more challenging. If you do this, it's a good idea to drop the hands in order to give yourself the support you've lost from having the back knee up. The pose then becomes focused on the hip stretch and less of a backbend, but that's ok. If this option causes any discomfort in the front knee, it's not a good choice.

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.

Try It Out

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

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