Good morning Yogis! We are continuing our detailed breakdown of each of the poses in the Surya Namaskar, or Sun Salutations Series. Today we are covering both Anjaneyasana and Ashta Chandrasana.
Anjaneyasana (AHN-jaw-nay-YA-sa-nuh) or Low Lunge is part of the traditional Sun Salutations. Warning – DO NOT perform Lunge with your back knee resting if you have an injury, or perhaps try a blanket or pillow for extra support under your knee, or get an extra cushioned mat. Today we will first break down High Lunge or Ashta Chandrasana (AHSH-ta chan-DRAH-sa-nuh), cover how to come into Low Lunge, and perform these lunges a couple of different ways during our continued Sun Salutations practice. Ashta Chandrasana literally translates as 8 Point Moon or Crescent Moon Pose, and Anjaneyasana translates to English as Son of Anjani Pose, and has a very cool mythology.
Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to again perform the traditional Asana series – Surya Namaskar, or Sun Salutations. Today, we will do the full series three times on each side. We will try three different variations of lunges with our three repetitions. We will go back to working to incorporating Diaphragmatic Breathing and try to get a “flow” with one deep inhale or exhale for each pose. Jump to today’s variations!
Ashta Chandrasana – High Lunge & Anjaneyasana – Low Lunge
Feet – We will start with RIGHT foot facing forward. Keep your right foot grounded and pointing straight ahead. Step your left foot straight back 3-4 feet, and ground the ball of your foot into the ground and make sure heel/foot is pointing straight back to come into HIGH LUNGE.
Legs – Make sure your front/right foot is directly above your ankle, and front/right knee is bent at about 90 degrees. If you are staying in High Lunge, your back/left leg should be completely straight, pressing back through your heel. If you are coming into Low Lunge, you can slowly rest your back knee and shin on the mat.
Hips – Make sure the points of your hips are both facing straight forward, and you are not twisting to one side or the other. Try to make sure you are tucking your hips/tailbone under, not sticking your booty out.
Torso – Take note of your rib cage. If you notice the bottom of rib cage is sticking out, pull back in and down to correct your posture. Next notice your shoulders. Try to gently roll your shoulders back and down, away from your ears. Notice how this helps your chest open.
Arms – Evaluate where you are in this pose, and arms will be placed accordingly. If you do not feel stable or this pose is new for you, keep your hands on your hips. There are many possible arm variations for this pose. If you feel stable, raise your hands above your head on the inhale, making sure to keep your shoulders down away from your ears.
Head and Neck – Keep your Check where your ears are compared to your shoulders. Most of us keep our heads slightly forward. If you notice you are doing this, tuck your chin slightly and gently press back to bring your neck and ears into alignment with your shoulders. Either gaze straight ahead, or look up between your hands if you feel comfortable.
The first round, come into Ashta Chandrasana / High Lunge with your hands on your hips. Inhale your arms up above your head with palms facing each other if you feel comfortable, and notice this challenging balance rising into High Lunge after Uttanasana / Standing Forward Bend. Perhaps take a full inhale and exhale here to work your balance. Exhale your arms down to each side of your feet, and perhaps pause in Runner’s Lunge before continuing on to Phalakasana / Plank, and complete the Sun Salutation series on each side.
The second round, step left foot back and slowly rest knee and shin into Anjaneyasana / Low Lunge if you feel comfortable with the pressure on your knee. If this is not comfortable on your knees, please try a blanket or pillow for extra support under your knee, or stay in High Lunge again this round and perhaps try a twisted variation. Make sure your front knee is above your ankle, and either keep your back foot supported on the ball of your foot or lay the top of your foot flat against the mat if you are in a Low Lunge. Inhale your arms up and take a full inhale and exhale here. Notice how your body feels in High Lunge vs Low Lunge, and the deeper stretch along your back thigh before continuing and completing the Sun Salutation series on each side.
The last round, we will try an advanced Low Lunge for those up for a challenge. Come into a deep Anjaneyasana / Low Lunge if you feel comfortable with the pressure on your knee. This time, raise your hands above your head put your palms together on the inhale, and if it feels right, allow yourself to come into a gentle backbend and gaze up at your hands. PS perhaps try to cactus out your arms as suggested by one of our commenters – I have added this to my morning Sun Salutations Routine! Enjoy this deep stretch in your chest and thighs, and breathe try to breathe into any tight spots in your hips.
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Please comment to share your experience or if you have any questions! What did you think of this exercise? Which version of Lunge did you prefer with your Sun Salutations? Always remember, be kind!