Ardha Chandrasana: Half Moon Pose

HalfMoon_RodneyYee

Ardha chandrasana (ARE-dah chan-DRAHS-anna), or half moon pose, is a challenging balance posture. However, there are many modifications and variations to make the shape accessible to everyone.

Philosophy + Origin

The Sanskrit word “chandra” is often translated simply as “moon,” and actually has a much richer meaning. More than just the moon, the chandra refers to something that is glittering and shining, a brilliant object that is illuminated by light or emanating light on its own. In many traditional yogic texts and stories, the moon symbolizes one half of the two polar energies in the body. The moon, which is the feminine or dark aspect, is nurturing, tranquil, and receptive.

ADJUSTMENTS/MODIFICATIONS:

  • Place your bottom hand on a block to help encourage proper alignment and aid balance.
  • Focus your gaze down or straight ahead to prevent neck discomfort.
  • Keep your standing leg bent as much as needed.
  • Practice with your back body against the wall for added support and alignment cues. This is a great modification for pregnancy.
  • Place the sole of your lifted foot against a wall for added balance.

STEP-BY-STEP:

  1. Begin in an extended triangle pose with your right foot forward. Bend your right knee and place your right fingertips on the ground or on a block about 12 to 18 inches in front of your foot.
  2. Shift your weight into your right foot as you draw your left foot forward along the floor. Your right kneecap should be facing straight ahead, not inward.
  3. Lift your left foot off the floor, pressing through the heel so that your foot stays flexed. Lengthen from your tailbone to your lifted heel.
  4. Square your chest toward the side of your mat that you are facing.
  5. Keep your weight primarily in your right leg, using your bottom hand as little as possible, primarily as a guide for balance.
  6. Adjust your gaze slowly, either looking down, straight ahead or up at the left hand. Work to stay in the pose for up to 60 seconds before lowering the left leg back to the floor and returning to the extended triangle. Repeat on the other side.

PREPARATORY POSES:

SEQUENTIAL POSES:

COUNTER POSES:

SANSKRIT:

  • Ardha = half
  • Chandra = moon
  • Asana = pose

PHYSICAL BENEFITS:

  • Expands chest and shoulders.
  • Strengthens core, ankles, thighs, glutes, spine.
  • Stretches groin, hamstrings, shoulders, chest.

ENERGETIC BENEFITS:

  • Expands energetic bodies.
  • Relieves physical, mental, and emotional fatigue.
  • Reduces stress.


Next Article

Uttanasana: Standing Forward Bend

ADJUSTMENTS    |     BENEFITS    |     SEQUENCING    |     SANSKRIT    |     STEPS

A soothing posture for body and mind, uttanasana (OOT-tan-AHS-ahna), or standing forward bend, is straightforward but far from simple. Requiring flexibility in hamstrings, hips, and calves, uttanasana also requires patience. Watch the ebbs and flows in your body and life reflected in this simple posture.

Philosophy + Origin

In uttanasana, knowing when to accept intensity and when to be content with where you are is key to steady progress without injury or frustration. It’s easy to try to push for more — with uttanasana, this means wanting to be more flexible or pushing further into the pose. Rather than struggling, use the posture to practice santosha (contentment). Can you accept both the intensity and your capacity right now?

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