As we look within to discover the bright light of our inner joy this month I find it utterly perfect that our pose of the month is Crescent Lunge. Years ago, someone brought to my attention that this is known as “Jooooyyyy” (sung in a high pitch stretched out way with gusto) Pose! This pose makes us feel strong, uplifted, capable and filled with joy!! It opens and strengthens the heart as we find balance in being grounded on strong feet (even if they feel wobbly every now and then).
Anjana was the mother of Hanuman, the great monkey god that reunited the divine feminine, Sita, with the divine masculine, Rama in the epic tale of the Ramayana. Hanuman was filled with love and devotion to the divine and since this pose is named after his mother, one must imagine the strength of her love and devotion as well. This pose can represent many things including the joy (and challenges) of parenthood. It is a balancing act, with open hips representing the free flow of emotions, and helping us to navigate the world with strength of character and openness in the heart.
When we turn our attention to joy and light it is important to remain grounded. So, lets start with the feet. The front foot is pointed straight forward with all four corners of the foot anchored firmly into the earth. We lunge the other foot back to open the hips and feel the front two corners of the foot solid while the center of the heel reaches straight back. As we ground and activate the feet, it brings energy up through the legs and pelvis guiding right alignment.
The front knee stacks directly upon the front ankle while the back knee is fully extended. The quads of both legs are fully engaged. We can even feel a little scissoring action in the inner thighs to bring in more stability to our balance and to engage the root lock (mula bandha).
The pelvis is relatively neutral as we pull in the lower abdomen to support the lower back. Lifting through the front of the rib cage and rolling the shoulder blades down the back lifts the torso into a graceful backbend (take the backbend only as far as you can safely support it from within). The arms reach high towards the heavens, lifting that which brings us joy up as an offering to the Universal Energy that supports us all.
The neck feels long as we gently look forward or up. Let the crown of the head float upwards toward the light of inspiration, love and joy.
If our bodies need support or modifications feel free to let the back knee come down to the floor (a blanket under the knee feels lovely). Using blocks to help the transition from low lunge to high can create more space in the body aiding in the stability of the lift.
For those looking for more challenge, explore what it feels like to point the back toes down onto the floor with the foot flat. Keeping the ankle neutral and toes pointed straight back, extend and lift off the back knee. Another method for deepening Anjaneyasana is to enhance the backbend. The backbend needs to be well supported no matter how large it is by the abdomen. Clasping the hands in Arrow Mudra (fingers interlaced with index fingers extended and together), roll the shoulders back and down, sliding the shoulder blades down the back and lifting the chest.
When we are in this pose well, the body feels strong, aligned, open, spacious and filled with great capacity. We are so much more than we know. Our essence is bliss!