Anjaneyasana (Crescent Moon Pose)

Anjaneyasana (Crescent Moon Pose)


What is Anjaneyasana (Crescent Moon Pose)?

Anjaneyasana (Crescent Moon Pose)

Anjaneyasana, or Crescent Moon Pose, is a standing low lunge position that opens the legs, pelvis, chest, and spine. It's used as a post-workout pose to relax the entire body or to improve your body posture. 

To get into this pose, one leg is stretched behind you on the mat, with your knee resting on the ground. Your other leg is placed between your hands, making an angle of 90 degrees with a bent knee. By extending your arms overhead, your spine is flexed to open your chest muscle, and creating a shape like a crescent moon. 

The Crescent moon pose is also used as a variation of the Equestrian pose in the Surya Namskara flow. This posture helps improve overall body balance, stability, and focus. 

The Sanskrit word Anjaneyasana means, 'Anjaneya' Mother of Lord Hanuman, and 'Asana' means posture. 

This yoga posture has not been featured in any Hatha yoga texts. This pose was inspired by Indian Martial Arts and was recently introduced in the 20th century as a Surya Namaskar variation in the modern Sivananda yoga schools. 

In Anjana's past life, she was cursed by a sage to be born as a monkey. 

As she begged for pardon, the sage told her to perform Tapasya (austerities or penances), and as a result, she would give birth to a powerful avatar, by which she could return to her original form of a nymph. 

Hanuman was the son of an Anjana and the king of the Vanar tribe Kesari. 

As per Hindu mythology - The RamayanaLord Hanuman was a member of the Vanar (half man-half monkey) tribe and reincarnation of Lord Shiva. He was a superhero because of his majestic powers and he played a crucial role in the Ramayana. 

Anjana used to perform Tapasya as a yogini in the jungles. She mastered all her senses with yoga, and the strength of her practice is honored by this Crescent Moon pose bearing her name.

Sanskrit Name: अञ्जनेयासन              Pronunciation: AHN-jah-nay-AHS-uh-nuh 

Pose Type: Standing Hip Opener    Also known as: Crescent Moon Pose, Low Lunge Pose

Strengthens: Thigh, Back, Knee, and Quadriceps 

Stretches: Thighs, Abdomen, Chest, Hamstrings, Lower Back, Spine, and Groin

Health Benefits of Anjaneyasana

  • Improves posture. 

  • Reduces stress and tension. 

  • Balances emotions and increases focus. 

  • Relaxes and re-energizes the whole body. 

  • Strengthens the back, quads, and knee joints. 

  • Stretches the chest, back, groin, and inner thighs. 

  • Opens the Heart Chakra and stimulates the Anahata energy.

  • Alleviates pain from the back and tightness in the lower body.

  • Enhances flexibility, mobility, and range of motion in the body.

  • Has therapeutic healing effects on back pain, digestion, and reproduction aliments. 

When to Avoid Performing Anjaneyasana 

  • Avoid if you have had a recent injury or surgery. 

  • Avoid during pregnancy and post-pregnancy. 

  • Avoid if you feel vertigo or migraine symptoms. 

  • Avoid if you have weak knees or inflammatory knee arthritis. 

How to do Anjaneyasana (Crescent Moon Pose)

The Crescent pose is a powerful kneeling, spinal stretching pose. It's not very beginner-friendly, so it's important to follow the steps in chronological order to get the most benefits from this pose. 

Part 1 - Preparatory Poses for Anjaneyasana  

To execute the Crescent moon pose properly, you'll need to start with some easy warm-up poses that prepare your back, abdomen, inner thighs, hip flexors, and knees for the main stretching pose and keep your muscles safe post-workout. 

1. Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose) - Stand in a five-point star standing position and exhale as you bend your torso at one side, over your right leg. Rest your right palm over your right shin or on the mat. 

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

The Triangle pose activates the obliques, lower back, and inner thighs. It will also stretch hamstrings, glutes, and hip flexors. This pose will help you increase balance and blood circulation in your entire body. Hold this extended side stretch for a few seconds, and then repeat the same on the other side. 

2. Utthita Ashwa Sanchalanasana (Runners Lunge Pose) - To get into the pose, start in a low lunge close to the mat with your right foot forward and your left foot behind you. Place both hands on the ground on either side of your right foot, and then slowly straighten your left leg. Keep your pelvis squared and your front knee directly over your ankle. 

Utthita Ashwa Sanchalanasana (Runners Lunge Pose)

Make sure your knee is not over-extending past your foot. Maintain this pose here for a few deep breaths, and repeat the same on the other side. This yoga pose is a perfect way to activate your lower back, open up your hip flexors, and stretch out your thighs and groin.

Part 2: Step-by-Step Instructions to Perform Anjaneyasana 

The following are steps to perform Anjaneyasana or Crescent Moon Pose: 

Step 1- Start in the Runner's Lunge pose or Lizard pose and get lower on the mat by resting your right leg behind you on the ground.

Step 2- Keep your hips square as you bend your left knee to 90 degrees.

Step 3- Place your palms at your waist, and make sure your right knee is resting on the ground with toes pointed, and your heel facing up toward the ceiling.

Step 4- As you inhale, raise both arms overhead slowly, lengthening your spine and looking up toward the sky.

Step 5- Keep breathing and opening your chest and slightly drop your neck back to feel a minimal stretch in your neck as well.

Step 6- This step is optional: If your back feels comfortable enough, keep breathing and arching your spine until your spine forms a crescent moon shape.

Step 7- Hold this pose here for 5-10 breaths. Slowly come back up and relax for a few seconds. Finally, repeat on the other side. 

Breathe Awareness -

Inhalation: Inhale as you raise your arms overhead and flex your spine in crescent moon shape. 

Exhalation: When your spine comes back to a neutral position during relaxation. 

Inhale & Exhale: As you maintain this pose for a longer duration or while flexing the spine deeper. 

Performance Duration for Beginners: Hold Anjaneyasana for 4-8 deep breaths on each side. 

Performance Duration for Advanced: Hold Anjaneyasana for 1-3 minutes on each side. 

Part 3: Things to Keep in Mind

The following are some alignment cues that are essential for the safe execution of the Crescent Moon pose: 

  • Do not overextend your knee:  When your front leg is bent, make sure your knee does not go beyond your ankle. This will ensure that your knee is not over-extended and remains safe. If you overextend, you can cause wear and tear in the quads, which can cause pain or even lead to a severe knee injury.

  • Keep your core engaged: Activate your core muscles by drawing your navel in toward your spine. This will help you retain your body balance and alignment while one knee is flexed behind you and one foot is placed in front.

  • Keep your shoulders relaxed: Let your arms hang heavy by your sides and relax your shoulders. This will help you avoid tension, pain, or injury in your neck and shoulders.

  • Gaze upwards: Keep your gaze fixed on a point in front of and slightly above you, like where a wall and a ceiling meet. This will help you stabilize your body and prevent unnecessary straining of the neck.

Part 4: Relaxing Poses After Anjaneyasana

After practicing this challenging spine bending pose, it is important to take some time to relax your back muscles and allow your body to recover. 

Here are some poses that can help you relax after your Crescent Moon practice:

1. Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend Pose) - This is a great counter pose to help relax your hamstrings, shoulders, and low back. To perform Uttanasana, stand with your feet less than hip-width apart.

 Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend Pose)

Inhale, lift your arms overhead and lengthen your spine. As you exhale, fold forward from your torso and rest your forehead against your knees, keeping your back flat. Let your arms hang loosely in front. Stay in this pose for at least 10 to 50 seconds.

2. Ardha Kapotasana (Half Pigeon Pose/Resting Pigeon Pose) - This pose is helpful in relaxing your low back, pelvis, and hamstrings on a deeper level, by changing your front leg position on the mat from the low lunge position. 

Ardha Kapotasana (Half Pigeon Pose/Resting Pigeon Pose)

Place your front leg horizontally between your hands and rest your pelvis completely on the ground. You can either sit here or bend your upper body forward on the ground to relax your spine and legs even further. Hold this pose on each side for one minute. 

Anjaneyasana Modifications and Props

Not feeling flexible and mobile enough to get into the Crescent Moon pose? Then try these posture modifications with some added props: 

  • Use yoga blocks: If you cannot hold your body weight, then it's a wise choice to add yoga blocks at your sides and hold on to them with each hand. 

Use yoga blocks

This modified posture will bring more awareness and mindfulness to your primary practice. 

  • Add cushioned surface: If you have any sort of pain, discomfort, or injury in your knees, then try to add a cushioned surface below your knee. 

Add cushioned surface

This modification will help you prevent any further damage and keep your joints safe during prolonged holds. 

Anjaneyasana Variations to Consider

Every practitioner has their own journey, and at each phase of your journey, you will either be required to ease your posture or challenge yourself for better growth. 

Here are a few variations for all levels of practitioners to try:  

1. Anjaneyasana Hands to Knee Variation - Get into a standing lunge pose and gently rest your straight leg on the ground. Place both hands on your knees and try to gaze at the point where the wall and ceiling meet – this will help you lengthen your spine. 

Anjaneyasana Hands to Knee Variation

This pose variation is great for beginners who want to bring some balance to their Crescent Moon pose. Hold this on each side for a few minutes, then relax your neck and spine. 

2. Anjaneyasana Quad Stretch Variation - If you feel balanced enough in the Crescent Moon pose and can hold the primary position for a long duration, then it's time to challenge yourself. 

Anjaneyasana Quad Stretch Variation

Gently lift the foot of your back leg, stretch it towards your same glute, and hold it with your hands. Hold this variation for one minute on each side as you feel a deeper flexion in the front thighs, quads, and knees. 

3. Parvrtta Anjaneyasana (Revolved Low Lunge Pose) - For this variation, continue the Crescent Moon pose and bring your arms in Anjali Mudra (Prayer Formation). 

Parvrtta Anjaneyasana (Revolved Low Lunge Pose)

Now, twist your upper body to the right side and bring your gaze to the right side. Hold this pose for one minute, and then repeat the same on the left side. This pose helps you strengthen your obliques and increase your range of motion in the lower back. 

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Level-Up Poses After Anjaneyasana for Advanced Yogis

Once you have mastered the art of executing the Crescent Moon pose like a pro, now it's time to try these lunging advanced yoga asanas: 

Level-Up Pose 1 - Anjaneyasana Backbend Variation

Level-Up Pose 2 - Anjaneyasana Deep Backbend Variation

Level-Up Pose 3 - Ashta Chandrasana (High Lunge Pose)

Level-Up Pose 4 - Utthita Parsvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

Anjaneyasana Backbend Variation

Anjaneyasana Backbend Variation

Anjaneyasana Deep Backbend Variation

Anjaneyasana Deep Backbend Variation

Ashta Chandrasana (High Lunge Pose)

Ashta Chandrasana (High Lunge Pose)

Utthita Parsvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

Utthita Parsvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

Similar Standing Poses like Anjaneyasana

Below is a list of a few standing yoga asanas that are similar to the Anjaneyasana practice. 

  1. Virabhadrasana (Warrior Pose)

  2. Ashta Chandrasana (High Lunge)

  3. Parsvakonasana (Side Angle Pose)

  4. Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon Pose)

  5. Ashwa Sanchalanasana (Equestrian Pose) 

Frequently Asked Questions about Anjaneyasana (Crescent Moon Pose)

What does Anjaneyasana mean?

What is low lunge Anjaneyasana?

What are the benefits of Anjaneyasana?

What are the different variations of Anjaneyasana?

Who should not perform Anjaneyasana?

Which asana is recommended to be performed after Anjaneyasana?

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