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Asana Analysis: High Lunge/Crescent Pose

This standing posture strengthens the legs and improves flexibility of the hip and foot muscles. It can be a challenging balance pose since the base of support of the rear foot is reduced to just the toes and ball of the foot. I often use High Lunge in place of Warrior I, especially in a flow sequence such as sun salutations.

Points of Body Awareness:

*The shoulders and pelvis are squared in line with the top edge of your mat.

*The front shin bone is perpendicular to the floor, with the knee in line over the ankle.

*The front thigh bone descends towards the floor.

*Engage the quadricep muscles of the back leg to keep the leg to straiten and strengthen

the knee.

*Feel a stable foundation in the legs. Lift the pelvic floor. Draw the navel in toward the


*Reach overhead with the elbows and fingers extended but keep the tops of the shoulders

relaxed away from the ears.

*Optional element: Backbend through the upper spine (thoracic) by lifting up from the

breastbone. Drop the head back only if you can do so without discomfort.

*Are you still relaxed in the jaw, the toes and the tops of the shoulders?

*Breath deeply. Feel the breath circulating down into the legs.

Muscles Strengthened: Front leg - quadriceps, hamstrings, gluteals, piriformis, external rotators of the hip. Rear leg - quadriceps, gluteus maximus. Torso - transverse abdominus, erector spinae. Arms - deltoids, triceps, rotator cuff muscles.

Muscles Stretched: Rear leg - iliacus, psoas, gastrocnemius, flexor muscles of the foot.

To Modify:

Press the back heel against a wall or keep the fingertips on the back of a chair for more stability and balance. Use support under the front thigh, such as a chair or exercise ball, if the legs are weak or fatigued. Use a shorter and/or wider stance as needed to accommodate range of motion, strength or balance.

PT Notes:

High Lunge is a good alternative to Warrior I, which is often difficult or painful for patients with injuries of the lumbar spine, SI joint, hip, ankle or foot. This is a good posture for runners and bikers who often have a great deal of tightness of the anterior body, especially the iliopsoas and abdominals.

Obviously caution must be used for patients with spinal problems aggravated by extension however this is an easy posture to modify for a range of abilities.

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