Anjaneyasana , Low Lunge, Crescent Moon, Ardha Chandrasana, Half Moon Pose
The names ‘Crescent Moon’ and ‘Half Moon’ come from the form of the pose and how it looks like. There is however another pose called ‘Ardha Chandrasana’ which got more popular with that name.
How to perform Anjaneyasana
Stand straight in Samsthiti and check which nostril is your active one. Now bend forward into Uttanasana and place both feet onto the floor beside your feet. If you are breathing from you right nostril, bring your right foot backwards. Keep your knee off the floor but bring your pelvis further as much down towards the floor as possible. Keep your left knee just above the left heel.
Bring your hands straight up in Namaste position and stretch them above your head. Look upwards and also bend your back backwards
Stay in the yoga posture from 30 to 40 seconds while breathing normally or even performing Dirgha Pranayama, deep breathing.
To come out of the posture, bring your arms down, put your hands on the floor and slowly come up again.
Perform the exercise from the other side, too.
Benefits of Anjaneyasana
Anjaneyasana is a very good pose for your legs which you will feel when doing this exercise a few times. It strengthens the upper and lower thigh muscles.
If you repeatedly suffer from sciatica pain, this yoga pose is also good for you as stretches and soothes the hamstrings and leg muscles.
It opens your hips and gives a nice stretch to your back, neck and shoulders and as well to your front. Your abdominal organs get a lot of space.
At the same
time you open your chest, give your lungs room to expand and your heart space to beat and pump blood through your body.
You will notice, doing it with the knee above the floor and bringing the pelvis down, you need to bring some work into balancing yourself.
This pose is specially good and recommended for athletes and runners as it gives a beneficial stretch and stimulation to the lower body. The quadriceps muscles and hamstrings of runners often get sore and hard and become inflexible. In this situation this pose is very good and provides positive stimulation, stretch and flexibility.
Variation in Anjaneyasana
Some practitioners bring the front knee even further to the front, crossing the vertical line of heel and knee. You can try this practice as you will be able to bring the pelvis further down.
You will however notice that the work of the muscles is very different in that posture.
If you suffer of knee pain or injury however, bringing the knee further to the front will give more pressure and could harm your knee further. In that case, please remain with your knee above your heel.
Tips and Help
Beginners may have difficulties balancing in Anjaneyasana. If so, you can perform the posture in front of a wall, putting your front foot against it, so that your knee cannot exceed the front line. If you need extra support, you can lean with your hands against the wall when going down or coming up.
Another option to make the posture easier for beginners is to put the knee of the back leg onto the floor.
When to avoid Anjaneyasana
In a healthy state this yoga exercise is good for the heart but if you have any problem with your heart, please consult with your doctor if you can or cannot do this yoga posture.
If you have lower back pain or hernia, this might also not be a good pose for you. Please consult with your doctor and Yoga teacher.