Crescent (High Lunge) Pose – Fists of Fire
Sanskrit: Anjaneyasana – Ratni Agni
Photos of Maggie Anderson taken by Maggie Anderson
Crescent (High Lunge) Pose 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. This pose works a lot on the ankles, calves, thighs, groins, abdomen, chest, shoulders, armpits, neck and is great for Sciatica issues. When you add in the Fists of Fire element to the Crescent pose you add in a new element of breath work and shoulder action. This is one of my favorites to practice and teach in yoga classes. If you go fast, you can tie in the Breath of Fire (fast equal inhales and exhales) to heat up your internal fire. This Vinyasa variation is also a part of the Core Sun Salutation sequence.
Directions on how to come into the pose:
From Downdog inhale lift your left foot forward in between your hands for runners lunge. Both feet are facing forward. Be sure your knee is over your ankle and both feet are in their own hip sockets and parallel lines of existence. We don’t want tight rope action here where one foot is in front of the other. Each foot being in their own parallel line is the proper alignment and will give better balance in this pose.
Then inhale arms all the way up to sky beside your ears, palms facing each other. Spine straight to start. Relax the shoulders down but reach up. Gaze forward. Hips will naturally face forward and shoulders are squared and facing forward as well. Sink down low into this pose finding a new edge each time while being mindful of proper alignment. Be careful not to over-arch the lower back. Lengthen your tailbone towards the floor and reach back through your right heel. Be mindful that you are not turning that back foot in. This can assist the shoulder blades deeper into the back and help support your chest. Gaze up toward your thumbs if this feels good for your neck. Be sure not to press the front ribs forward, draw them down and into the torso.
From here begin Fist of Fire. Make fists with your hands as you inhale. Exhale, bending at the elbows, bring hands down and fists by your waist. Inhale, maintaining fists, reach up. Exhale lower. Inhale, up and exhale lower. You may go slow or fast. Your pace. If going fast you may choose to incorporate Breathe of Fire. Having matching lengths in your inhales and your exhales. Tap into your internal fire and enjoy becoming present with only your breath and movement. Do this for 5-10 repetitions.
To modify your Crescent pose, you can either lower the back knee down to the ground or take legs and feet even wider. You may also improve balance by practicing resting the thigh of the forward leg on a chair seat.
To come out: Lower your hands to the mat on either side of your front foot. Step back into Downdog. Repeat on the other side.
When not to do this pose or to modify/Contraindications:
High blood pressure, shoulder issues or Heart problems
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