Yoga Poses

Half Moon Pose Variation Ardha Chandrasana Chapasana

Steps

Half Moon Pose Variation is known by many different names because it has some much going on in one pose. Half Moon Pose Variation in essence is a one-legged standing balance with a back bend and leg hold similar to dancer. For that reason, it is sometimes called Half Moon Bow or Sugar Cane because of its shape. Half Moon Pose Variation by any name, still gives the sweetest of stretches to both psoas and hips, while opening the heart.

Begin in Tall Mountain with toes touching. Forward fold, placing your right fingers to the right of the right foot. Open your hips and torso to the left and extend your left leg. Raise the left arm upward. Bend the left leg, foot towards the hip.  Reach back with the left arm to hold the front of the left foot. Keep rotating the chest and heart out and up, keeping the gaze to the right toes.  When you have balance, look upwards. To exit the pose, return the gaze to right foot, release the foot hold, bring both hands to front of mat and lower left foot down. Rise up to Tall Mountain. Repeat other side.

Teacher Queues

Visualization Comments

The balance in Half Moon Pose Variation works very much like a bow and arrow. When holding the lifted leg, pull the foot towards you. At the same time push the foot away. Deepen the arch of the back. The tension between the hand pulling and pushing keeps the leg upwards.

Technical Comments

From forward fold, make sure the right shoulder is stacked over right wrist. Roll hips open to stack left hip on top of right.  Extend left leg parallel to the floor. The left foot should be flexed with toes pointing left. Extend left arm upwards, rolling chest out. Keep abdominals engaged and extend outwards through tail bone. Bend the left leg, foot towards hips, without twisting.  Reach for the foot and hold. To maintain balance, keep eye gaze to floor, head crown pointing away.

Benefit Comments

  • Strengths feet and legs, especially quadriceps
  • Open the hips
  • Lengthens the spine
  • Massages internal organs with the twist
  • Improves balance and coordination

Watch Out For:

  • Twisting hips (stack hips)
  • Chest pointing towards floor (roll up and out)
  • Puling or pushing foot too hard (find the mid- point tension)
  • Locking knees (keep soft)

Contraindications

  • Back injuries
  • High blood pressure
  • Knee or ankle injuries

Modifications

  • Practice with hand on block
  • Hold foot with strap
  • Practice holding onto back of chair

Variations

  • Wrap left arm around back waist and hold foot with right (repeat opposite)
  • Raise lower hand off floor, extending out
  • Hold foot with both hands

Yoga Counter Poses

  • Standing forward bend
  • Downward facing dog
  • Child pose

Written By: Brenda Hamlet

Brenda Hamlet is a RYT 200 yoga teacher and journalist. More information about Brenda can be found at https://www.facebook.com/brendahamletyoga

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