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.


Natarajasana: Lord of the Dance Pose

meta lord of dance pose jumbo 1024x576 1

ADJUSTMENTS    |     BENEFITS    |     SEQUENCING    |     SANSKRIT    |     STEPS

Natarajasana (not-ah-raj-AHS-anna) is a physically challenging, beautiful pose that requires flexibility in the spine, legs, and hips. To practice the pose,  use a thoughtful sequence filled with plenty of preparatory poses in order to make sure your body – and mind – are adequately prepared. Regular practice will help develop strong mental fortitude and determined concentration.

Philosophy + Origin

A physical embodiment of King Nataraja, a form of the lord Shiva, lord of the dance pose (also referred to as king dancer pose) is a tribute to this powerful god of destruction. Embracing destruction and even death as part of the cycle of change and growth, this pose is a helpful reminder that no good can exist without evil, no birth without death.

In most depictions of King Nataraja, he is standing on one leg (hence the shape of the pose), gazing over the head of a small dwarf, whose presence represents ignorance. In this way, lord of the dance pose encourages our consciousness to elevate above ignorance, above the common thoughts and misunderstandings that cloud our view. The balance that comes from the pose awakens our understanding that clarity brings steadiness.

Read Article

More In Focus

Our unique blend of yoga, meditation, personal transformation, and alternative healing content is designed for those seeking to not just enhance their physical, spiritual, and intellectual capabilities, but to fuse them in the knowledge that the whole is always greater than the sum of its parts.


Use the same account and membership for TV, desktop, and all mobile devices. Plus you can download videos to your device to watch offline later.

Desktop, laptop, tablet, phone devices with Gaia content on screens

Discover what Gaia has to offer.

Testing message will be here