Half Moon Pose or Ardha Chandrasana is a standing yoga posture that will challenge your leg muscles and your ability to balance. It can also be a fun pose to transition into from Extended Triangle (Utthita Trikonasana)! The two poses are similar in their full-body extension; Half Moon is like a balancing variation of Triangle.
What You Should Know Before You Do The Asana
This asana must be performed on an empty stomach. You must have your meals at least four to six hours before you practice yoga. You must also make sure that your bowels are empty. Do not practice Half Moon Pose if you have low blood pressure or are currently experiencing headaches, insomnia, or diarrhea.
How To Do The Ardha Chandrasana : Step-by-Step Instructions
- Start from standing at the top of your mat. Bring your right foot all the way back so you’re at a Low Lunge with your left leg, hands framing the left foot.
- From here, engage your core, bring your right hand to your right hip and lift up your right foot and straighten your right leg out behind you, balancing on the left leg with your left hand on the floor. Gaze is at the left hand.
- Make sure your left leg is strong by engaging your glutes and quads, lifting up at the kneecap, and anchoring the four corners of your left foot, rooting into the earth for support.
- Now, rotate your right hip back, stacking it on top of your left hip. So instead of your hips being parallel to the earth, we want it to be parallel to the right side wall of the room.
- Next, energetically extend your right hand towards the sky, palm facing the right side of the room. Lift the shoulders out of your ears by gluing your shoulders blades onto your back. Maybe imagine you’re holding onto a pencil in between your shoulder blades.
- Stay with it for 5 slow, deep breaths.
- Slowly come out of it the same way you came in. Repeat the steps for the other side.
Keep the following information in mind when practicing this pose:
- Extended Triangle Pose (Utthita Trikonasana) provides the foundation for this pose, so it’s important to learn the correct alignment for Triangle before moving into Half Moon.
- Work on getting the foot and leg placements first. Build the pose from the ground up.
- Do not allow your torso to drop forward in the pose. This often happens if you’re straining too hard to reach your front fingertips to the floor, or to raise your leg too high. Instead, work to keep your hips, chest, shoulders, legs, and head along the same line. Imagine that you’re practicing the pose between two waterfalls. If you drop your torso forward or lean too far back, you will get wet. Work to keep your body “dry.”
- Keep your standing leg’s knee soft. Do not lock or hyperextend it.
- Firm and activate the muscles of both thighs. Work toward maintaining an equal balance of energy and effort in both legs.
Many beginning students have difficulty touching the floor with their lower hand, even when resting it on the fingertips. These students should support their hand on a block. Start with the block at its highest height and, if your balance is steady and comfortable, lower it down first to its middle height, then finally if possible to its lowest height.
Modifications & Variations
Try these simple modifications to find a variation of the pose that works for you:
- If you can’t touch the floor with your bottom hand or fingertips, rest your hand on a block. Begin with the block on its highest side. Gradually lower it to the middle, and then to its lowest height as you gain more confidence.
- Beginners can also practice this pose with their backs against a wall. This will provide support and ease any fear of falling as you learn the correct alignment of the pose.
- Advanced students can raise the top arm, with an inhalation, perpendicular to the floor. Firm the top scapula against the back. Imagine there’s a wall in front of you, and press the top hand actively into this pretend wall. Then, if your balance is steady, try slowly rotating the head to gaze up at the raised hand.
Benefits Of The Ardha Chandrasana
- Half Moon Pose strengthens your ankles, legs, glutes, spine, and abs. It gives your spine, shoulders, calves, hamstrings, and groin a good stretch.
- This pose relieves stress and depression by turning your head upside down that when you get back up, you’ll begin to see the world with more clarity and in a more positive light.
- Other therapeutic effects of practicing this pose include increasing fertility as well as relief from anxiety, fatigue, menstrual pain, back pain, sciatica, osteoporosis, indigestion, gastritis, and constipation.
Half Moon can challenge your practice in new ways. Remember to breathe smoothly throughout the pose. As you continually draw your awareness back to your breath, you can stay calm and aware of the present moment. Don’t be afraid to fall — just try the pose again. Relax your breath, focus your mind, and take it slowly.