Yoga Poses

Sugarcane Pose Ardha Chandra Chapasana

Steps

Sugarcane Pose is a powerful heart –and hip opener that combines a variation of half-moon pose with a backbend. This pose is an intermediate vinyasa posture building core stability and precision of movement. It’s a great pose for playing your edge – that is practicing outside your comfort zone – as you will let go of old habits re-adjusting your sense of balance and perspective.

Begin in mountain pose with the feet parallel and hip distance apart.  Fold forward from the hips, placing the tips of your right hand 6-8 inches in front of your right foot.  Bring the left hand to left hip, turning the chest outward, so the right shoulder over the right wrist. Root down with the four corners of the right foot and raise the left leg parallel to the floor. Open the hips stacking left hip over right.  Extend the left arm and gaze upward, stretching out from head crown to left toe.  Slowly bend the left leg coming into half-moon pose. Reach back with the left hand and grab the left foot.  Pull the left foot towards the hip. At the same time draw the shoulder blades back and down.  Continue to revolve the chest upward and breathe deeply into the chest cavity for a count of five.  To exit the pose, bring eye gaze to the floor. Release the foot and bring both hands to the floor.  Lower the left leg and foot to the ground, returning to a forward bend, the lift up to Mountain Pose. Repeat the other side.

Teacher Queues

Visualization Comments

To maintain your balance in a one-legged standing pose, it’s important to take your time at each stage of the pose. When rooting the standing foot and leg, imagine you are laying the foundation for a house. Slowly build the layers, stack the shoulders on top of each other, then the hips like brickwork leading the roof (foot bind)

Technical Comments

To achieve foothold without losing balance, keep your eye gaze down. Keep the extension leg level to the floor, even when bent. If this is a problem, micro bend the standing leg knee until you can grab the foot.  Simultaneously pull the foot to the hips and push the foot into the hand.  This action creates the bow shape in the spine, supporting the backbend.

Benefit Comments

  • Improves core strength and balance
  • Strengthens ankles, calves and thighs
  • Stretches the hip flexors, groin, quads
  • Opens chest and shoulders
  • Increases focus and concentration

Watch Out For:

Loss of balance (keep eye gaze down until balance is achieved)

Contraindications

  • Knee injuries
  • Lower back injuries

Modifications

  • Place standing hand on block, chair or wall
  • Practice next to wall for support
  • Hold foot with strap

Variations

  • Begin in Half moon pose
  • Take the weight off of the ground hand, holding the balance with just standing leg
  • Transition from sugarcane to dancer, then two king dancer (holding foot with both hands)

Yoga Counter Poses

  • Standing forward bend (Uttanasana)
  • Downward facing dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
  • Child pose (Balasana)

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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