HOW TO PRACTICE Revolved Half Moon Pose IN YOGA (Parivrtta Ardha Chandrasana)
Benefits, How to Instructions, Modifications, and Common Alignment Mistakes for Revolved Half Moon Pose
Revolved Half Moon Pose (Sanskrit name: Parivrtta Ardha Chandrasana) is a challenging standing yoga pose that combines strength, balance, and extension into every direction. It is similar in alignment to both Parsvottanasana (Pyramid Pose) and Parivrtta Trikonasana (Revolved Triangle Pose). Revolved Half Moon Pose cultivates strength and length through the limbs, hips, and spine.
The position of the pelvis and thighs is a key to being able to perform this asana without putting undue strain on the hips or SI joint. When practicing Revolved Half Moon Pose, bring awareness to your hip joints, being careful not to allow your femur heads to move into external rotation. Your pelvis should remain relatively stable as you assume the yoga posture. If anything, allow your lifted leg to move into a slight internal rotation in order to accommodate the movement of the upper body.
Revolved Half Moon Pose offers a great opportunity to strengthen the legs, but make sure you don’t lock your knees in the yoga pose. If you overextend the knee joint, you’ll be relying on the ligaments, which are intended to stabilize the joint and should not be stretched.
Using a block under your bottom hand proves helpful for most people in this asana, as it raises the ground and allows for more extension and rotation in the spine. It also acts as a kind of touchstone, increasing your proprioceptive awareness of where your body is in space. Like all twisting yoga poses, it’s important to learn how to use your abdominal muscles to aid in the twisting action in the spine.
Benefits of Revolved Half Moon Pose
Revolved Half Moon Pose offers many benefits for the entire body. It strengthens and lengthens the spine, while also helping to build stability in the core. It offers overall strengthening to the hip abductors, knee extensors (quadriceps), and glutes. The strengthening of the hip abductors is of great usefulness, as the abductors play a big role in determining gait patterns. This yoga pose expands the chest and facilitates breathing.
Practice Parivrtta Ardha Chandrasana to develop greater balance and a better kinesthetic awareness. The spinal rotation can also offer a pleasant wake-up to the circulatory and digestive systems.
Basic Revolved Half Moon Pose
The traditional way to enter Revolved Half Moon Pose is to begin with Parivrtta Trikonasana (Revolved Triangle Pose).
- Place your blocks: while standing at the top of your yoga mat, place one block on the outside of your right foot, and one about a foot forward and outside of your left foot.
- Start with your feet hips-width apart. Step your left foot about 3 or 4 feet back. Root down through both feet equally.
- Spiral the inner ankle, knee and thigh of your left leg back to draw the left hip forward. Simultaneously pin the right hip back.
- Place your right hand on your right hip as a reminder to keep your hip pinning back and in; raise your left hand up toward the ceiling.
- Reach your chest straight forward while continuing to reach out through your left arm; go toward the middle of your mat and find your “midline.”
- While reaching straight forward with the arm and torso, place your left hand on the block outside the right foot.
- Press into your left heel and reach out through the sternum to find additional spinal length. From this position of length begin twisting through the spine toward the right. Spin the belly open, and spin the ribs back.
Shifting Forward: Moving into Parivrtta Ardha Chandrasana (Revolved Half Moon Pose)
- Keep your chest twisting open, and bring your left hand to the block outside and forward of your left foot.
- Shift your weight onto your right leg, and raise the left leg to hip height. Keeping the leg lifted is very challenging; reach out actively through your back heel as if you were trying to push your foot through the wall behind you.
- Simultaneously reach your chest forward, away from your back foot. Press your shoulder blades lightly into your back and toward your chest. Pause here and take a few breaths to fully engage in the yoga pose.
Shifting Back: Transitioning Back to Revolved Triangle
- On an exhalation bring your right hand to your hip. Bend your right knee to begin to lower your body. Reach your left foot back behind you to where it began. Place your left foot onto the floor.
- Move your left hand to the block just outside of your right foot. Keep pinning your right hip back as your extend your right arm up toward the ceiling.
- Reach your sternum forward again and twist through your spine.
- Inhale to stay.
- On an exhalation circle your right arm back behind you and then bring it down toward the ground. Sweep your left arm up overhead in a big semi-circle to stand. Step or jump the feet together.
- Practice Revolved Half Moon on the other side. Be sure to repeat all of the steps above when you practice your second side to maintain balance in your body.