High Lunge Pose (Ashta Chandrasana)

High Lunge Pose, Ashta Chandrasana, (ahh-SHTAH chahn-DRAH-suh-nuh)

ashta (eight) + chandra (moon) + asana (pose)

Also Known as: Crescent High Lunge Pose, Eight Point Crescent Moon Pose, Crescent Lunge Pose

Pose Type: Stretching, Strengthening, Balancing, Standing, Backbend

Difficulty: Beginner

a woman wearing black yoga clothes doing high lunge pose

Prepare for Warrior I with a High Lunge. Strengthen the legs and focus on proper alignment.

High Lunge Pose Fundamentals

This beginner-friendly standing position builds leg strength, and stretches the calves, hamstrings, hip flexors and ankles. With continuous practice, it may also help alleviate chronic lower back and knee pain

High lunge builds your sense of stability and balance, both physically and mentally. It’s energizing and may help you build the foundation and focus you need for other balancing and standing positions, like Warrior I and Triangle pose. 

This pose activates the root (Muladhara) chakra, giving you a sense of grounding and security. Suitable for all levels, you’ll frequently encounter it in traditional yoga styles.
Enjoy full-body activation, boost your confidence and build a stable base with High Lunge pose! 

High Lunge Pose Benefits

  • Stretches the knees, ankles, hip flexors, and hamstrings, improving flexibility and reducing stiffness.
  • Strengthens the whole lower body, including legs, feet, hips, and back
  • Builds a foundation for more challenging standing asanas.
  • May help reduce chronic lower back and knee pain. 
  • Helps keep joints strong and healthy.
  • Builds confidence and a sense of security and inner power.
  • Improves your energy by opening the chest and releasing tension in the shoulders and upper back
a gif of a woman doing high lunge pose

How To Do High Lunge Pose: Step-By-Step

How To Get There:

1. There are two methods to enter this asana. First, you can begin in Standing Forward Bend (Utanasana). From this pose, bend your knees and step one foot back, close to the back edge of your mat. Alternatively, begin in Table Top pose and step one foot forward between your hands. 

2.  Regardless of how you entered the pose, you can begin with your back knee on the floor, and your arms on the ground. Press the ball of your back foot on the floor, and lift the knee off the ground. The ideal distance between your legs is the one that allows you to keep your front thigh parallel to the ground.

3. Press the palms firmly into the ground, balance your torso on the front leg and lift the crown of your head up. Roll the shoulders back and down, and keep your chest up. Keep your chin parallel to the floor and look forward.

4. Now, activate your legs and actively stretch your left heel towards the floor. You can remain in this position, or if you’d like to take it a step further, you can lift up from your core and elevate your arms forward, keeping your torso diagonal to the floor. This is a challenging variation, so you can hold it only for one breath while you’re building up core strength.  

5. Hold the pose for 3 to 5 breaths, keeping your whole body active the entire time. Then, step the front leg next to the back into Plank, or first lower the knee on the floor and return to Table Top position. Repeat the process on the other side. Make sure you use the same variation and hold for the same amount of time on both sides. 

an annotated image of a woman wearing black yoga clothes doing high lunge Pose

Tips And Tricks:

  • Your feet are your foundation – make sure they’re active, and that the toes are pointing forward. Ideally, they should be hip-width distance apart, but you can also widen the stance for more stability.
  • Keep your back leg engaged and constantly reach towards the floor with the back heel.
  • Your hips can be relaxed and pushing towards the floor, but try to keep them stacked. 
  • Keep your knee facing front – it should not open to the side or go in-front of the foot. 
  • Distribute your weight evenly between both legs.
  • Even if you decide to extend your arms, make sure you keep your shoulders relaxed and away from the ears. 

High Lunge Variation:

High Lunge Variation: High Lunge With Eagle Or Cactus Arms 

a woman wearing black yoga clothes doing a high lunge with cactus arms

If you want to keep your arms off the floor while in High Lunge, you can also try wrapping them into an eagle position.

To do so, stretch your arms to the sides, and place the right arm underneath the left, with elbows stacked. Then, bend your elbows and wrap the forearms around each other. Try to grasp your palms, or simply keep that action in mind. Lift your elbows as high as you can and keep your torso elevated. 

When you repeat the position on the other leg, also switch your hands, so that the left arm is underneath the right. 

For cactus arms, band your arms at a ninety degree angle and open your chest up to the sky.

High Lunge Variation: Twisting Lunge 

You can also use this pose to strengthen the spine and align your pelvis by taking a twist. 

You can keep your arms on your hips or extend them to the sides into a cactus position. Then, exhale, and twist to the side of your front leg. You can also try the open twist, where you turn to the side of your back leg, or do both variations. In each case, make sure you repeat the same motions on both sides. 

High Lunge Variation: Knee On the Floor

a woman wearing black yoga clothes doing low lunge pose

If you don’t feel stable in this pose, and keeping your arms down or on the thigh doesn’t help, feel free to practice with your back knee on the floor. Although this variation is much easier for your legs, it will still help you build core strength and proprioception (a sense of body position) which is useful for all standing positions. 

Precautions & Contraindications:

Common misalignments

Front knee and foot. Make sure your front foot and thigh are always facing directly ahead of you, and don’t open to the sides. 

Back leg. Remember to keep your back leg engaged, and to push the back heel towards the ground.

Hips. Unless you are consciously doing a twist, your hips should be aligned. Move the hip of the front leg slightly back, as it usually comes a bit in front of the back hip when you enter the pose. 

Injuries

Avoid this pose if you have any serious, chronic or recent leg, hip or knee injuries. 

Related Poses

Crescent Lunge

Warrior I

Low Lunge

Preparatory Poses:

Table Top Pose

Standing Forward Bend

Downward Dog 

Chair Pose

Wide-Legged Forward Fold

Counter Poses:

Standing Forward Bend

Mountain Pose

Downward Dog

Warrior I

Warrior II 

yogajala break 1000 × 40 px 1

For more in-depth asana resources, check out our free Yoga Pose Library. Here you’ll find complete guides to each and every yoga asana to deepen your yoga knowledge.

Each pose page features high-quality photos, anatomy insights, tips and tricks, pose instructions and queues, asana variations, and preparatory and counter poses.

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