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.
Ustrasana: Camel Pose
Ustrasana (oosh-TRAHS-anna), offers a long list of benefits for both the physical and subtle bodies. Thanks to its many different variations and modifications, there are plenty of ways for individuals of all levels to appreciate the chest-opening and chakra-opening effects of camel pose.
Philosophy + Origin
Camel pose is named because the shape resembles the hump on a camel’s back, however there are other ways to consider the name when approaching the posture. Camels are known for their slow, steady, almost methodical way of moving. Rather than trying to race into the posture, moving slowly and methodically will help you find its benefits safely. Camels use their humps as food reserves, like well-packed bags ready to be used when needed. This type of physical preparation, a part of the camel’s natural adaptation for survival, is essential for this pose as well. Take your time to gather and practice the skills and knowledge necessary to take a back-bending journey to ensure that you come in and out of the posture with ease and poise.