Crescent Pose (or high lunge variation) is a foundational posture found in yoga sequences, and it’s important to learn how to do Crescent Post properly. As a result of teaching and studying my own self practice, I notice that sometimes the most “simple” and primary postures are the ones that we overlook and disregard. (Because headstand is so much more fun than a high lunge!) However when we practice with less awareness, we begin to cultivate patterns and unwanted habits that can affect succeeding postures.
As always, we will begin with the foundation of this asana working from the feet and ground up. Crescent is a wonderful pose to energetically ground down and feel your connection to the Earth before transitioning into more challenging standing postures.
And speaking of Earth, this Yoga Asana photo shoot comes to you from the top of Wa’ahila Ridge in Honolulu. Thankfully we found a flat spot after a few uphill miles to practice and play. Hiking + Yoga = blissful exhaustion. Try taking your practice outside this week!
To begin, start in Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Dog). Exhale and step the left foot forward in between your hands. Root through the left foot and look down to make sure that the left knee is aligned with the left ankle. Keep the right leg strong and come onto the ball of your right foot as you press the right heel back. Come up high on the fingertips and draw the should blades down the back. Extend your sternum forward to draw more length through the spine and create space around the neck.
When you feel grounded and stable, inhale and lift the torso away from the thighs and bring the hands to the hips. Make sure that both hip points are facing forward. Bend the back knee slightly to allow the tailbone to drop towards the Earth and the pubic bone to lift slightly. Make sure that you are not pushing the ribs out but softening them back. Begin to straighten the back leg.
On an inhale, sweep the arms out wide and raise them overhead palms facing each other. The ears are aligned over the shoulders, bringing the head to rest in between the biceps. Relax the jaw and the face (maybe even find a smile!). Let your gaze be soft and your breath steady. Hold Crescent for thirty seconds to a minute, breathing deeply.
On an exhale release the arms to the ground and torso to the thigh. Press through your palms and step back into Downward Facing Dog. Hold for a few breaths before repeating Crescent on the other side.
Anatomically, Crescent strengthens the thighs, ankles, and calves while awakening the hip flexors and groins. Energetically, we create a stronger connection to the Earth and allow it to support us as we find balance and steadiness in our postures. Play with Crescent and remember that these seemingly uncomplicated poses are the foundation for more difficult poses you’ll find yourself in later. Take the time now to cultivate good habits and alignment that will carry over into the more ambitious asanas.