Crescent Lunge (Anjaneyasana)
- Stretches the hip flexors
- Strengthens the quadriceps and arms
- Improves balance and concentration
- Great preparatory asana (posture) for back bends
- Begin in Tadasana, Mountain pose (See April 2017 column).
- Shift weight into the right leg and take a large step back with the left leg. Make sure the left heel is lifted, pointing directly back, and root down into the ball of the foot. If the stride feels too narrow, walk the right foot out to the right 1-2 inches.
- Track the right knee over the right ankle and press down through the three corners of the front foot.
- To bring more space into the lower back and increase the opening of the hip flexors, bring a soft bend to the back knee and lengthen the tailbone downward. This will cause the frontal hips bones to lift and the lower ribs to soften as the pelvis moves into more of a posterior tilt.
- Feel the back of the rib cage lift as the arms raise overhead; palms face each other. Firm the outer arms in and soften at the base of the neck.
- Maintaining all these actions, see if there is space to take some of the bend out of the back leg.
- Stay for 5-10 breathes then repeat on the other side.
- Lower the back knee to the floor if balance is a challenge.
- Take goalpost arms or hands to the hips if raising the arms overhead is too much for the shoulders.