5 Tips Help You Get into Anjanayasana Pose
February Pose of the Month: Anjanayasana
Crescent Moon Pose, or anjanayasana, is a gentle but juicy stretch that lengthens your hip flexors and quadriceps. You can even add a bit of a backbend if you’d like to stretch the muscles in your chest. Powerflow picked this pose for February because it activates Muladhara, the root chakra. Located at the base of the spine, this chakra governs your feelings of stability, security and belonging. As you connect to your physical body on a deeper level, you will gain a better sense of self. You become secure in the many roles with which you identify–yogi, parent, teacher, friend, student, child and more. You must build a strong physical and spiritual foundation within yourself if you wish to support and stand for someone else. It’s the reason Muladhara is the first chakra: You cannot grow and change unless you feel safe and secure. If you don’t love yourself, how are you going to love somebody else?
Here are 5 tips to help you love Crescent Moon just a little more:
1. Root down through your back ankle.
Focus on your back leg in anjanayasana. Students often lunge too far forward into the front leg to feel the stretch. Instead, firmly press the back ankle and top of the foot into the floor. When you do so, you will activate the back leg’s hamstrings. Your hamstrings extend your hip joint. This will then lengthen your hip flexors and quadriceps. If you can’t press the top of your foot down, keep your toes tucked. Then, root down through the ball of the foot.
2. Mindfully push your front thigh forward.
Engage the hamstrings of your front thigh to gently push the thigh forward. It’s okay if your knee comes a little bit ahead of your front ankle, but be mindful. Don’t let the knee come past the toes. Instead of sinking into the knee joint itself, engage the hamstrings. This will ensure you move using the strength of your muscles, and not the flexibility of your joints.
3. Draw your belly button into your spine.
Engage your Transverse Abdominals to pull your belly button back towards your spine. Pulling the belly in will help to protect your lower back from over-arching. This will bring your pelvis to a more neutral position. Consequently, you will lengthen your hip flexors from the top. You can also take both hands on top of the front thigh. As you pull the belly in, try to find Cat Pose in your upper body. Then breathe deeply and enjoy the juiciness of this intense variation.
4. Reach your arms straight up to the ceiling.
You can add a bit of a juicy backbend. Reach your arms straight up to the ceiling instead of sweeping them behind your ears. Root down through your front foot, and engage your abdominal muscles. Then extend the arms as high as you can. Next, press your shoulder blades forward and up into your chest. The belly should continue facing forward as the heart lifts up and back. Focus on back bending from your upper spine instead of your lower back.
5. Add a side stretch.
Place a block on the outside edge of your front thigh. Place your fingertips on the block. Then, reach the opposite arm up and over. You should feel the stretch from the hip flexors all the way up through the same side of the abdomen.