Three Hacks for Teaching Half Moon Yoga Pose at the Rope Wall
Article At A Glance
Teaching Half Moon Pose (Ardha Chandrasana) is no easy feat, especially when working with students with limited mobility. In this article, we showcase three easy ways to enliven students’ experience of Half Moon Pose by using a wall.
Why Teach Half Moon Pose?
Half Moon Pose is a key asana in teaching balance and stability. This pose is more challenging than it may appear. Holding this pose gracefully requires students to become comfortable with opposing sensations of extension and stability: For the arms to extend, the legs must be stable and strong.
In teaching Half Moon Pose, we inform students to stabilize the lower body by firmly lifting the kneecaps. Through this action, Half Moon Pose is beneficial for strengthening the legs. Specifically, the posture strengthens the muscles that stabilize the knees while toning the muscles of the lower back. By stretching the hamstring muscles on the standing leg and the psoas muscle on the lifted leg, this pose stretches both the back and front body.
How A Wall Can Help in Teaching Half Moon Pose
If Half Moon Pose is practiced without support, the opening of the chest is performed before the standing leg is fully extended, and the top leg is fully raised. This can cause the chest to collapse or the hips to be misaligned. But using a wall when practicing this asana can teach alignment to support the opening of the chest whilst both legs are fully extended. Moreover, using a wall familiarizes students with the balance required to sustain the shape.
The following three variations of Half Moon Pose use an Iyengar rope wall. If you don’t have access to a rope wall, you can practice all of these variations at a regular wall. If you do, imagine holding a rope in the top hand and using it to rotate the chest open.
1. Half Moon Pose with a Chair
- For the first variation of Half Moon Pose, bring your mat to a wall and place a chair in the middle of your mat facing toward the center of the room.
- Reach for the rope wall with your top hand and come into Half Moon Pose with your bottom hip on the backrest of a chair.
- This variation provides stability because the hips and waist are supported by the backrest of a chair.
- The bottom hand should be placed on the floor or on a block. This hand is in front of the chair seat, which further increases the stretch of the side of the trunk.
- Holding a rope with the top hand helps with the rotation of the chest.
- The back foot pushes firmly against the wall for additional stability.
2. Half Moon Pose with a Block
- Next, try practicing Half Moon Pose with a block under the bottom hand to any height that is comfortable. Using the block for support further assists in turning the trunk away from the floor as well as fully extending the bottom arm.
- Holding the rope in this variation brings stability to the pose and helps with the rotation of the trunk.
3. Moving Away from the Props
- As you become more comfortable practicing Half Moon Pose, you may be able to place your bottom hand on the floor without collapsing. In this variation, remember to turn the trunk as you extend the bottom arm to prevent the chest from collapsing.
- After practicing these variations, you can return to the center of the room and practice Half Moon Pose with or without the support of a block. As you do, notice how the posture feels unsupported by the wall, and use your breath and the stability of your core center to find your full expression of this posture.
Conclusion: Enjoy the Benefits of Half Moon Pose Variations
Practicing Half Moon Pose at a wall can provide stability and support. The variations outlined in this article are excellent for beginning to advanced students to experience the full benefits of the posture while opening the heart.