Yoga Poses

Half-Moon Pose /Ardha Chandasana

Steps

Begin in Mountain Pose (Tadasana). Step the left leg back (1/2 a legs length).  Bend the forward standing leg.  Inhale as you bring your right hand 6-10 inches in front of the little toe (in tepee fingers).  Take the left hand to the left hip. Exhale and press the fingertips into the floor. Extend the crown of the head pointing away from you. Inhale and lift the back leg parallel or a little above to the floor.  Roll the left shoulder back and press the heel of the standing foot into the floor.  Gently straighten the standing leg and flex the foot (with toes pointing away from you).  When you have balance, extend the left hand upwards with the palm facing away from you.  Now turn the head and eye gaze towards the extended fingers.  To come out of the pose, exhale and lower the raised leg to the mat. Return to the Mountain and repeat on the other side.

Teacher Queues

Visualization Comments

Picture the standing leg to be a strong tree trunk holding you secure. Imagine the standing foot growing bigger and rooting the sole of the foot to the ground keeping you steady. Now visualise yourself suspended between two sheets of glass.

Technical Comments

The supporting hand should be positioned under the shoulder. When extending the top hand stack the shoulders on top of each other. The hips should also be aligned in similar way – with the top hip moving up and forward. Flexing the raised foot and extend out through the heel keeps the leg strong and active in the pose. Bringing the left hand to tepee fingers (finger tips pressed into the floor and palm lifted) to provide addition lift and support in the pose. The standing leg is holding all of the body weight in this pose. To avoid hyper-extending the knee, micro bend the standing leg. Lift upwards from the inner foot and ankle as you press the big toe, little toe and heel into the floor. Draw the navel to the spine and lift the core muscles in and upwards. Extend the tailbone out towards the raised foot.

Benefit Comments

  • Strengthens the abdomen, ankles, thighs, buttocks, & spine
  • Stretches the groins, hamstrings & calves, shoulders, chest, & spine
  • Improves coordination & sense of balance
  • Helps relieve stress
  • Improves digestion

Watch Out For:

See technical comments...

Contraindications

  • Neck problems (don't look upward)
  • Headache or migraine; Low blood pressure
  • Diarrhea
  • Insomnia

Modifications

Rather than extending the hand, most beginners should keep the hand and the head in a neutral position, eye gaze on the ground. Modification using bricks: Place the hands on bricks or use tepee fingers (tops of the fingers pressing into the floor and palms lifted) to create space in the side chest and hips. Modification using the wall: Stand with your back to the wall, one leg's length away from the wall. Exhale & bend forward into a standing forward bend. Bring both hands underneath the shoulders to the floor or bricks. Inhale & raise your left leg parallel to the floor & press the left sole against the wall. Then complete the pose as above. Repeat other side. Come into a wide stance with your back to the wall. Place a brick about 6-10 inches in front of the right little toe. Bring your right foot to a 12 o’clock position and the left foot to 10 o’clock with the heel pressed against the wall. Bend your right leg and bring your right hand onto the brick. Inhale and lift the left leg parallel to the floor. Extend the left arm and back of the hand long the wall. Gently press left hip, heel, shoulder and back of the hand towards or against the wall to gain correct alignment and balance in this challenging pose.

Variations

Modified Half-Moon Arch – Bend the raised leg a lower the extend arm. Bring the hips back slightly to catch the foot

Yoga Counter Poses

Reverse or peaceful warrior

Written By: Brenda Hamlet RYT 200

Brenda teaches yoga in Health & Fitness Centres and in small corporate settings across the city of Oxford, England. More information about Brenda can be found at www.pret-a-yoga.com.

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