HOW TO PRACTICE Half Moon Pose IN YOGA (Ardha Chandrasana)
Benefits, How to Instructions, Modifications, and Common Alignment Mistakes for Half Moon Pose
Half Moon Pose (Sanskrit name: Ardha Chandrasana) (ardha = half, chandra = moon asana = pose) is an expansive yoga posture that invites us to radiate out in all directions like the moon’s luminescence in the night sky.
The key to this yoga pose is maintaining stability in the standing leg, which is externally rotated, while lifting the other leg to hip level and aligning it so that it is continuous with the angle of the torso. Active extension through the legs, across the chest and arms, and out through the crown of the head completes this powerful standing asana.
Benefits of Half Moon Pose
Ardha Chandrasana strengthens the spine, legs, ankles and feet, buttocks, as well as the core. At the same time, it stretches the groin, hamstrings and lower legs, shoulders, chest and spine.
This yoga pose helps improve balance and more. By moving into and maintaining the asana while gazing forward or up toward the extended arm, practicing Ardha Chandrasana can increase proprioceptive awareness—the ability to sense where your body is in space.
Holding a steady line from the hip to the heel of the lifted leg, while rooting through the entire standing foot, further enhances the experience of stability and strength.
Once you’ve discovered how to stabilize yourself in Half Moon Pose, expanding out through the limbs in all directions feels liberating. Whether it’s your first time balancing in the yoga posture, or you’re an expert, this pose can be exhilarating.
Basic Half Moon Pose
- Begin standing in Tadasana (Mountain Pose) in the center of your yoga mat. Step your feet out 2 to 3 feet apart, keeping them parallel to the outer edges of your mat.
- Inhale and extend your arms out parallel to the floor.
- Turn your left foot, knee, thigh and pelvis slightly inward and your right leg and foot out no more than 90 degrees. Make sure that your right foot and knee are aligned with each other.
- Place your left hand on your left hip. Exhale and bend your right knee, shift your weight onto your right foot so that your torso is balanced over your right leg. Reach your right fingertips to the floor 10 to 12 inches in front of your right pinky toe.
- Inhale and press firmly down into all four corners of your right foot as you straighten your right leg and lift the left. Come into balance on your right foot and fingertips, maintaining the spinal support of your core.
- Press out through the heel of the left leg and rotate your ribcage skyward. You’ll notice that your standing leg is now externally rotated while your left leg is in a neutral position in relationship to the left hip. On both sides, the hip, knee, ankle, and foot should be pointing in the same direction.
- Bringing your right fingertips directly under your right shoulder (the length of your torso in front of your right pinky toe), extend your left arm up directly above your left shoulder and turn your palm to face forward.
- Inhaling, press down through your standing leg and radiate out in every direction.
- To release, bend your right knee, keeping your torso over your front leg as you reach your left leg straight out from your pelvis. When your left foot is a few inches from the floor, place it back down onto the yoga mat, about a lunge distance behind your right foot, stepping back into Trikonasana (Triangle Pose).
- Inhale, press down into both feet and rise up to stand. Bring your hands to your hips, straighten the right leg and turn it back in, so that your feet are parallel.
- Rest for a few breaths here.
- Turn your left leg out and your right foot, knee, thigh and pelvis inward, and repeat on the second side.