Anjaneyasana - TINT Yoga

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Anjaneyasana Low Lunge

    Quick Facts

  • Sanskrit (Original): Ānjaneyāsana
  • Etymology: Son of Anjani (ānjaneya); pose (āsana)
  • Fun Fact about the pose: In Inside Yoga, instead of Low Lunge, this pose is called also called Mini Warrior which is a quite accurate description of the energetics of the pose.
  • Asana Type: Forward Fold, Standing
  • Main length muscle groups: Spinal extensors; intercostals; front leg: abductors, glutes; back leg: psoas major, articularis genu, vastii, gracilis, tibialis anterior
  • Main strength muscle groups: Rotator cuff; serratus anterior; quadriceps; back leg: gluteus maximus, gastrocnemius, sartorius, soleus, peroneus longus and brevis, muscles of the feet
  • Vinyasa Breath: Inhale

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How to Cue the Pose: Step By Step

    • 1Start in Runner’s Lunge (Utthita Ashwa Sanchalanasana) with one foot in the front and the other leg is fully extended backwards with the heel lifted. The hands are on fingertips next to the front ankle.
    • 2From here lower your back knee down to the ground to move into Low Lunge.
    • 3Place the top of the back foot into the floor and actively push down into the mat to create a solid foundation.
    • 4Root the foot of the front leg down into the ground. To do this press the four corners of the foot (big toe, pinky toe, inner and outer side of the heel) into the mat.
    • 5Close your hips by slightly pulling the back leg hip forward and the front leg hip backwards.
    • 6Extend the spine and lift your torso and arms up on an inhale.
    • 7Gently pull up your pubic bone and lift the chest.
    • 8Extend the arms further up as if you were reaching a present up to the sky.
    • 9If available for you create a slight backbend through the length of the spine.
    • 10Exhale to lower the upper body back down to the ground and release the pose.

Working The Details: Alignment In The Pose

  • Create stability: Anjanesasana can be quite a wobbly pose in the beginning. To create more stability in the pose isometrically draw the back knee and the front heel towards each other to center your body weight. You can imagine that you want to pull the mat beneath you together. This action will stabilize your pelvis and your foundation.
  • Ground into your foundation: As mentioned above Low Lunge can cause a little wobble, especially when newly approaching the pose. One aspect causing this situation is the lack of foundation. One is quick to bring all the awareness into the front foot and ankle to find an anchor point. However, the back foot should not be neglected as it adds a whole different steadiness to the pose. So to achieve this, actively press the top of the foot, the shinbone and the knee of the back leg into the mat. You can even try to ground all five toenails into the mat for reference.
  • Ease into a backbend: Hook your thumbs into each other and pull them away from one another to create more stability in your shoulders while moving into a backbend. Alternatively, you can interlace your fingers behind the back of your head and gently lean your head into your hands.
    Rotate the back leg inwards: Even though the alignment of the back leg is neutral in Low Lunge, this will mean that the back leg needs to rotate more inwards for most. Fully extend and engage the back leg and imagine that the inseam of your leg moves up to the ceiling.
  • Move in two directions: Have your hips sinking down as if you were sitting down on a stool and let the rib cage and torso lift up and get lighter. This allows you to extend in two directions within one pose.

Adapting The Pose Through Modifications

Simplify

  • Especially for flexible practitioners it is easy to sink into quite a deep lunge, which can potentially put too much strain on the front leg hamstrings and the back leg groin. To avoid taking the risk of injury you can simplify the pose with a prop. Stack a block lengthwise between the mat and the front of the back leg. Now when you move deeper into the pose you will have the block as a barrier preventing you from sinking too deep.
  • In case of sensitive knees or knee injury you can cushion the back knee with a blanket or folded mat. This will give you more comfort especially when you are practicing on a thin yoga mat but it will also require you to stabilize your hips more to find balance.
  • Another way to stabilize the hips is to move the back knee more to the front. This way your femur (thigh bone) will be almost perpendicular to the floor and in line with your pubic bone. Especially for students with tense quadriceps this will help to gain more control over the movement in the hips.
  • You can add more restorative Yin energy to the pose by stacking yoga bolsters or blocks underneath the sit bone of your front leg. This support will help you to remain in the pose for an extended period of time without having to hold the pose actively.

Level Up

  • Transition between Half Splits Pose and Low Lunge to make the pose more dynamic and target the length of the front leg hamstring.
  • Add in a little drill by transitioning between Low Lunge and Warrior I with the lifted heel. To do this alternately extend and bend your back knee. You can even have it hovering just off the ground in Low Lunge to give your quads a nice little burn.
  • Make the pose a bit more playful by adding in some Cat-Cow movements in the upper body or folding over your front thigh and then lifting up again into a slight backbend.
  • Bring the underarms down into the ground and come into a Lizard Pose variation with the knee on the ground for a deeper stretch in the hips.
  • Place block under your front foot to increase the work in the front leg, in particular in the hamstrings.
  • Challenge yourself (and your calves) by lifting the front heel of the ground. Try to come as high up onto your big toe as you can and give your plantar fascia a good stretch.

Benefits of Anjaneyasana

  • Low Lunge strengthens the spine and core of the body as well as the legs and feet while at the same time opening up the chest.
  • The pose deeply stretches and opens up the hips, groin area and the hamstrings and can thus help to relieve lower back pain and sciatica.
  • Low Lunge increases stamina and strength in the arms, back, hips and legs and is a great preparation to approach the Warrior poses.
  • The pose is a whole-body stretch from your neck, shoulders and arms to your belly and groins, and even down to the legs and ankles.
  • Since it opens your hips, chest and lungs, this asana encourages circulation and respiration and, as a result, energizes the entire body.
  • Anjaneyasana can help to improve your sense of balance and stability while at the same time invoking the notion of grounding down in the body.

IS THIS YOU?

You spend more time writing down, crossing out and re-writing your yoga sequence than you actually spend time practicing it?

Make your life easier!

Save time and create

inspiring sequences today!

Mini Warrior or Low Lunge is one of my favorite poses to modify Sun Salutations or warrior sequences when my energy is rather low. There is so much to explore and feel in this seemingly easy pose.

Stephi

Content Manager at TINT | Passionate Yoga Teacher

FAQ: Common questions about this pose

This really deeply depends on your individual range of motion in your hip joint and the length and flexibility of your hamstrings, glutes and quadriceps muscles. In the first place you should always consider how to keep your body safe and sustainable in the pose. If you are very flexible already and you can easily sink deep into the pose, perhaps you would benefit of not sinking so deep and instead working to increase your strength and stability in the pose. If you are the opposite and feel that you have the stability but you cannot really sink deep you could focus on gradually moving deeper into the lunge.

Low Lunge is a nice warm-up pose working the whole body. It opens up the hips, legs, front body and shoulders and is a valuable preparation pose for Runner’s Lunge and all warrior poses. Low Lunge can be an adequate pose to bring some variety into Sun Salutation sequences.

This is a very common problem for practitioners in Low Lunge, especially if you are prone to hanging into your hips. When the hips are not well supported (through the strength of the back leg), all the weight of the hips falls down onto the groin of the extended leg. This is pushing the groin forward causing it to over-extend and hurt. You can even see your groin popping forward (like a little puffy, bulky ball) when it is over-extended. To avoid this bring your back knee slightly forward and tilt your pelvis posteriorly (i.e. backwards). This will move your groin back into the body. Maintain the stability and position of the pelvis while you move back a bit deeper into the lunge.

The difference between those two poses is not that big. The main difference is that in Low Lunge (Anjaneyasana) the back knee is resting on the ground while it is extended in Runner’s Lunge. In Low Lunge the torso is usually lifted up like in Warrior I while it is parallel to the floor with hands on the ground in Runner’s Lunge. However, there is a variation of Anjaneyasana where the upper body is also parallel to the ground.

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