Pose of the Month:
Alanasana: High Lunge/Crescent Moon
By Chrisandra Fox Walker
The dawn of the new calendar year is a natural time to embrace change and awaken to, well, newness. Whether you make resolutions, set intentions or create sankalpas, it can be a powerful practice to let go of what no longer serves and consciously direct your inner compass toward the thoughts, behaviors, and experiences that can help you live with meaning and purpose.
Take a bold step this month, awaken and enliven your practice with high lunge. High lunge, or crescent moon (also called Alanasana, although there’s not really an agreed-upon Sanskrit name for this pose) opens the hip flexors, strengthens the hip extensors, helps to develop a strong core and balance, and is excellent preparation for Virabhadrasana I (Warrior I). And, when practiced with a sankalpa, the pose can help you develop tremendous power in your spirit.
The nature of life is change, and so it can be challenging to stick to a goal, once an intention is made. As with all striving, a sense of humility and devotion helps keep us mentally focused and relaxed, and can produce a sense of effortlessness. As you practice High Lunge, notice how the balance of effort and devotion can empower your purpose, not just for yourself, but for the wholeness of the world around you, as well.
Begin in Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-facing Dog). Raise your right leg above your torso into Three-legged Dog. As you exhale, step your right foot between your hands and align your knee above your ankle. Curl your left toes under and reach back through your left heel. Bring your hands to your right thigh and pause here, hug your thighbones in toward one another to create grounded support.
Inhale and lift your torso up. Rest your hands on your hips. Sink your right thigh toward the floor as you lift your inner back thigh and internally rotate it toward the sky. Continue to press through your left heel and extend your arms overhead.
Now, lift your chest, reach through your fingers, and draw your arms back toward your head, lifting up through your biceps. If your shoulders or low back feel tight, spread your arms more widely apart or keep your torso moving slightly forward of your hips.
Feel the connection between the crown of your head and your tailbone. Draw your abdominals in, lengthen your tail toward the earth and hug your front ribs in lightly toward the back body. From this core stability, draw energy up toward your heart. Draw your chin lightly in towards your throat, keeping a sense of containment – and contentment – within your heart space.
Now, with smooth, even breaths, repeat your sankalpa – or resolve – silently to yourself. Say it in the form of an affirmation, with confidence, as though you have already realized your goal. As you repeat the words, listen to their meaning and feel the gratitude you have from awakening a new part of yourself and being in alignment with this purpose, with the knowledge that fulfilling this goal supports your unique place in the whole Universe.
Chrisandra teaches other empowering techniques and practices in 3 weekly classes at Yoga Tree. Click here for her schedule. She leads the Heart of Renewal Retreats and teaches in Yoga Tree’s 500-hour Teacher Training programs. Click here for more information. Email Chrisandra@gmail.com
Photography by Ryan Scott. firstname.lastname@example.org