Sanskrit: Ardha Chandrasana
Photo of Maggie Anderson courtesy of Morayo Sayles
The Half Moon balance pose is fantastic for opening up the hips, heart and chest, as well as strengthening the legs, thighs, glute’s, spine and our core! This is one of my favorite poses where I feel like I am getting an all-around practice in one pose. By strengthening, while balancing and breathing fully and deeply to go inward for that oh-so-special connection that all yoga poses can potentially bring. 🙂 A great pose to work up to this pose is Triangle pose. This pose also:
- Stretches the groins, hamstrings and calves, shoulders, chest, and spine
- Improves coordination and sense of balance
- Helps relieve stress
- Improves digestion
Directions on how to come into the pose:
Have a block ready in front of the leg you are balancing on about 6-12 inches. We will balance on our right leg first. Beginning in Chair pose, hands in Namaste/Prayer pose at your heart. Inhale. On your exhale begin to move your right hand to your block or the mat in front of you and left hand to left hip. As you press your right hand down begin to lift the left leg back and up, starting to open the hips as you extend the left leg back. Lift your left hip up, lifting the left side of your torso, and allow the right hip to stay and have the action of pressing right hip forward, so hips stack. Open your heart as well. The goal is to eventually have your left leg back and straight to about hip level (or parallel and slightly higher than parallel to the floor) and your balancing leg as straight as possible without locking the knee. Be sure your right knee is facing forward and not turning inward. Most of the weight is on your balancing leg; pressing firmly into all of your right foot including the heel. Your right hand is just there for balance.
You may take your left hand off of left hip when you feel good and balanced. Your gaze or drishti can be up, forward or down. Hold for 5 deep breaths or 30 seconds to one minute.
To come out bend your right balancing knee and gracefully lower your left hand, squaring your hips and allowing the left leg to come back down, bending both knees back into Chair pose. Practice this pose on the other side before finishing in Chair and straightening the legs, standing in Mountain pose.
When not to do this pose or to modify / Contraindications:
Headache, migraine, low blood pressure, diarrhea, insomnia. If you have any head or neck issue, keep your head looking straight forward or down rather than up. Keep the strain off the neck and always listen to your body.
Check out my calendar for group yoga classes dates and time.