This pose is the symbol of Anjaneya, the child of Anjana, a supernatural woman, and Kesari, king of the monkeys, gazing and reaching up towards the sun, mistaking it for a glowing piece of fruit that he wants to jump for.
Anjaneyasana (Ahn-jah-nay-ass-ana) – Low Lunge
We often move into our Low Lunge from either a forward fold with a step backwards, or from our downward facing dog stepping forwards.
Feet and Legs
Foundation of this pose:
Front foot firmly grounded, aligned as it would be in tadasana.
**Release the back knee and untuck the toes.
The back knee is down on the mat, and if possible, you want to try to roll a little bit further forward over the knee so that the weight of the body doesn’t go directly into that supporting knee. The top of the back foot is pressing down into the mat, toes pointing straight back.
The knee of the front foot stays in the same line as the foot, so the knee doesn’t knock in or out.
There is some discussion around how far forward the front knee should go. One school of thought is that the knee should stay directly above the ankle. I would recommend staying here until you are comfortable with the pose and are able to use your core to support your weight. This will minimise any undue pressure being placed on the knee. Once you are consistently comfortable and stable here, if the knee extends past the ankle, you can move forward. However, you will only ever move as far forward as the compression in your ankle joint allows for you to go.
The main target area being stretched in this pose is the quad and hip flexors of the back leg.
Pelvis and Torso
**Sink the hips nice and deep.
The more you allow the hips to sink into this pose, the more you will feel this stretch in your quadricep. The added benefit of sinking the hips deep is that it helps when you progress this pose by bending the back knee!
The low back then extends up and if it’s available to you, and expansion across the chest can release you into a backbend in the upper (thoracic) spine.
Arms and Shoulders
I have a few variations for the arms here and it all just depends on your level and what works for your body. Never, ever be shy to take a modification if it serves you better than what is being instructed. That said, don’t always go for an easier option if it’s just a case of being lazy and not wanting to exert yourself.
So, 1, the hands can rest on blocks. This will help stabilise you, whilst keeping the chest open.
2, hands resting on the bent knee.
3, the hands can reach straight up.
4 , the fingers can be interlaced with the index fingers pointing up or back (kali mudra).
Wherever you go, keep the shoulders down whilst the hands reach, in that beautiful yogi paradox you have come to love.
Head and Neck
If the hands are extended overhead, the gaze can go up towards the hands. If you are coming into the backbend the head can release backwards (gently, obviously, no throwing the head around which could cause pain to the neck), gaze still following the direction of the fingers.
If it feels cranky in the neck, know that you know your body better than anyone and keep the gaze straight ahead.