Say you’ve decided to start practicing yoga to improve your health, or you’ve been practicing for some time and you want to try out some of those fascinating postures that look like superhuman feats of balance or contortion. In either case you’ll need to develop your balance and your stability to move safely through your practice. Crescent Lunge Pose is very effective at encouraging a buildup of balance and stability with the added benefit of having both feet on the mat.
To perform Crescent Lunge Pose, start in Downward Facing Dog and bring a foot forward between your hands into a low lunge with the heel of the back foot lifted. Keeping the hips squared to the front of the mat, ground down through the four corners of the forward foot and lift through the arch to help establish your balance. To straighten and engage the back leg, press the lifted heel downwards. Your heel won’t touch the mat because your front knee is bent, yet because you are energetically pressing it downwards, you’re creating a more solid foundation to support your upper body. From here, bring your torso upright with your arms and hands extended overhead, reaching through your fingertips to keep your arms engaged. Lift the pelvic floor towards the ribs then pull the naval towards the spine then up to the ribs to engage your core. Bring your ears over your shoulders to lengthen your neck.
Some points of alignment to be aware of include a bend in the back leg, the front knee pulling inward or swaying outward, and a collapsing in the low back. To straighten the back leg, try pressing the back heel towards the floor or shortening your stance by bring the back foot slightly closer to the front foot.
In regards to the front knee, keeping it stacked over the ankle will protect the knee joint from being compromised and possibly injured. If the knee is swaying in, pull it towards the pinkie toe to bring it back into alignment with the ankle and vice versa if it is swaying outward. You should also be able to see your toes on your front foot. If you cannot, that means that your knee is further forward than your ankle and that can also put stress on your knee joint.
Once the front knee and the back leg are stabilized, check in with your low back. Collapsing in the low back can put an unnecessary strain on the muscles of the low back. This will have the opposite effect on building your balance and stability, instead causing you to be unstable. Collapsing in the low back occurs when the ribs and chest are sticking out. Bring the ribs back into your spine and drop your shoulders away from your ears to lengthen your spine.
Some days Crescent Lunge Pose can be a challenge to hold, no matter if you’ve only begun practicing this posture or if you’ve been practicing it for years. If and when balancing in this posture becomes a challenge, take a modification by dropping your back knee down to the mat directly below your hip while keeping your back toes curled under. This modification will help you work on your balance and stability and it has an added benefit of providing a deeper stretch into your hip flexers.
Along with building up your strength, balance, stability and flexibility, Crescent Lunge Pose helps to improve your focus and concentration. It will also offer both a sense of uplift and freedom because of the reach of the hands skyward as well as a sense of being grounded because you are lunging into and working to maintain a balance with the earth. Enjoy!