Half Moon Pose (Ardha Chandrasana) always looks so beautiful, graceful and expressive… when people other than me do it!
Earlier this week I wrote a post about acceptance. I mentioned that for me, Half Moon is a pose that challenges my balance as well as my ego. I don’t know for sure but I think it is probably true that the poses we find challenging are perhaps the ones that we need the most.
In the spirit of acceptance and with a desire to understand this pose a bit more, I thought I’d explore Half Moon here today. It is a standing posture that requires strength, grace and balance. In Sanskrit, Ardha means half and Chandra means moon. In this posture, your body takes the shape of a half moon.
Some Benefits of Half Moon
- Works balance
- Stretches and strengthens the spine
- Strengthens the abdominals, thighs, ankles and buttocks
- Relieves stress
- Tones the muscles of the lower back
- Helps to relieve sciatica
- Improves digestion
- Relieves anxiety and fatigue
Chatting with a few yogis on Twitter, I discovered that I am not alone in finding Half Moon a challenge. I also got some really great tips. Thank you @yoga_mydrishti and @rogue_yogi for sharing your ideas!
In balancing postures it is helpful to balance the energy that you draw in (sometimes referred to as muscular energy) with the energy that you radiate out (organic energy). In Half Moon, create a strong foundation by rooting the standing leg then allow some softness of the upper body, expressing out through the raised arm and crown.
Try to distribute your weight evenly between your lower hand and foot.
Practice this pose with your back against the wall. The wall will give you stability and also help you to to find proper alignment without worrying about balance.
Extend through both legs. Engage the back (elevated) foot by flexing it. Feel the ground solid beneath the standing foot as you root downwards.
Another way to use the wall is to have the foot of the lifted leg pressing strongly into the wall. (I just tried this today and I felt very stable in the posture.)
Use a yoga block underneath your bottom hand. Don’t lean on the block, rather press into it with the palm of your hand creating opposing energies as you extend the upper arm towards the ceiling.
Turn the standing foot inwards slightly- this can help with balance.
Engage your core muscles.
When starting out, you may want to keep the hand of your upper arm on the hip and your gaze down or straight ahead. As you gain more experience and confidence you can extend the hand towards the sky and possibly turn your gaze upwards.
Smile. This is a pose that somehow feels exuberant. So perhaps as you set up, take a deep breath in, extend, lengthen, lift then shout out “Woo hoo!” Half moon rising … even if only for the briefest second 😉
On the weekend, @YogaSweetie had a look at the tips and added a great one of her own:
Try from Triangle Pose (Trikonasana), you have the alignment already, drop the lower hand, engage uddiyana, and fly!