If you just look at the front half of the body, Crescent Pose (also called High Lunge or Runner’s Lunge) and Warrior I Pose (or Virabhadrasana A) look like the same pose.
Both have the legs about three feet apart with the front leg bent at about a 90-degree angle, both call for squaring the hips forward, both are amazing ways to open the front of the hips, and both require a tremendous amount of strength and focus. The difference between them, though, is in the back leg.
The Difference Between Crescent and Warrior
Simply put, Crescent is a variation of Warrior and can be looked at as a way to work yourself towards Warrior—especially if you have tight muscles in the hips and groin.
Crescent also targets the hip flexors and front of the legs a little more, while Warrior starts to work its way into opening the groin muscles more. Both postures are entered from Tadasana, or Mountain Pose.
Getting into Crescent Pose
- Starting on the right side with your arms raised to shoulder height and parallel to the floor, step 3 to 4 feet with the right foot so your right foot is now facing the front of the room. The natural inclination will be to allow the left foot to rise to the toes, which is exactly what you want to do in Crescent.
- Check that your hips are square and facing the front of the room.
- Raise your arms to bring your fingertips toward the ceiling. While you do, bend the right knee. The goal is for the thigh to be parallel to the floor, but if you can’t bend that deeply, don’t worry. You can work your way up to that.
Tips in Crescent
You’re now in the basic posture, but you’ll want to do a body check to make sure you’re getting the most from the pose and avoiding injury.
- Draw your torso back and up so that your shoulders are over your hips, not leaning forward. It helps to think about pulling your belly button toward your spine. When you do this, you’ll feel an even deeper opening in the front of the hips.
- If you need to bend the back leg slightly or even rest your back knee on the floor, do so. That’s a great way to work into the posture.
- Think about moving your shoulders away from your ears and your shoulder blades down your back while reaching your fingertips toward the sky. You can also begin to arch your back to get a heart opener, too.
Hold this pose for five to 10 slow, deep breaths before repeating on the other side. You can also move into the other side simply by rotating the body.
From Crescent to Warrior
The difference between Crescent and Warrior is what you do with your back leg.
In Crescent, you allow the heel to rise as you square your hips. But in Warrior, you’ll turn the back foot to 45 degrees, keeping your heel on the floor. The heel of the front foot and the arch of the back foot should be lined up. The tips mentioned above still apply here.
I recommend including at least one of these postures in your practice to help you gain strength, confidence, grace, and power that you’ll be able to carry with you through your practice and into your daily life as well.