Ardha Chandrasana: Half Moon Pose
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Square your chest toward the side of your mat that you are facing.
- Keep your weight primarily in your right leg, using your bottom hand as little as possible, primarily as a guide for balance.
- 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.
- Reclined hand to big toe pose | Supta padangusthasana
- Extended triangle pose | Utthita trikonasana
- Tree pose | Vrksasana
- Ardha = half
- Chandra = moon
- Asana = pose
- Expands chest and shoulders.
- Strengthens core, ankles, thighs, glutes, spine.
- Stretches groin, hamstrings, shoulders, chest.
- Expands energetic bodies.
- Relieves physical, mental, and emotional fatigue.
- Reduces stress.
Prasarita Padottanasana: Standing Wide-Legged Forward Bend Pose
Prasarita padottanasana (pra-sa-REE-tah pah-doh-tahn-AHS-an-uh) is a big stretch for the hamstrings and inner leg line. With many variations available, this pose is accessible for most practitioners. This is also a great pose in lieu of headstand.
Philosophy + Origin
Prasarita padottanasana has found its way into almost every style of yoga. B.K.S. Iyengar taught several variations of this posture, labeling them as A, B, C, and D. The most commonly practiced variation is prasarita padottanasana A. Prasarita padottanasana B is when the hands are on the hips and the head is lifted off the ground, not resting on the mat. Prasarita padottanasana C is the variation where the hands are interlaced and stretched behind the back and over the head as you fold. In the final variation taught by Iyengar, prasarita padottanasana D asks the student to grasp the big toe on each foot.