Half Moon Side Bend or
Upward Solute Half Moon Side Bend
Sanskrit: Urdhva Hastasana Ardha Chandrasana
Image of Maggie Anderson taken by Maggie Anderson
Half Moon Side Bend or Upward Solute Half Moon Side Bend (not to be confused with the standing balance pose also called Half Moon) is an amazing side waist stretch and an uplifting pose. This pose is commonly done within the Moon Salutation sequence. This is also something the majority of us will do right after waking up after a long sleep. I know I do! Just like Upward Solute, it allows us more expansion of the lungs and is a full body stretch, as well as an intense side waist stretch.
Go for a “smile-asana” in this pose! Turn the corners of your mouth up and enjoy. In this pose you can breathe more easily, and feel more uplifted. This pose immediate rejuvenates our energy, giving us the boost we need! The way we move our body and express assists us in feeling a certain way. We can either be seen as how we feel on the inside or use certain poses to assist us to feel the way we *want* to feel. Give this pose a shot and see how it makes you feel! 🙂
Some more benefits are:
- Stretches both sides of the entire body; including the torso, waist, thighs and shins, as well as the belly
- Great Spinal movement and stretch
- Tones the thighs
- Improves digestion
- Stretches the shoulders and armpits
- Helps relieve mild anxiety
- Therapeutic for asthma and congestion
- Creates space between vertebrae, improving posture
Directions on how to come into the pose:
Begin in Mountain Pose standing with feet together or walking distance apart, arms at your sides. Press down evenly feeling all four corners of your feet firmly into the ground. Both feet are grounded the entire time; thighs firmly engaged. Squeeze outer shins towards each other. While drawing the belly in slightly, bring pelvis to its neutral position, keeping hips even with the center line of your body. Widen sits bones by rotating thighs slightly inward; quadriceps activated while drawing tops of thighs up and back.
On your next inhale, sweep arms out to the side and then up overhead. Interlace fingers, and point index fingers upward in temple mudra position.
Root left foot and left hip, extending torso, lifting up and out through the length of your spine and arms, bend to the right. Keep the heart open and perhaps gaze slightly upward. Hold for five breaths.
Root right foot and right hip and, extending the torso – inhale and come back through center, lifting up and out through the length of your spine and arms – exhale, bending to the left. Keep your chest open. If accessible, gaze upward. Root left foot, return to center. Hold for five breaths.
To come out: Exhale, sweep your arms back down to the sides of the body. You may decide to repeat this sequence up to 10 times.
When not to do this pose or to modify/Contraindications:
Avoid raising your arms completely overhead if you have shoulder or neck injuries.
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