balance in Half Moon Pose by removing the support of the block or your arm touching the floor

5 Creative Ways to Practice Half Moon Pose

Leah Sugerman, E-RYT 500, YACEP
Updated: 
May 19, 2022

Half Moon Pose (Ardha Chandrasana) is a challenging balance shape that stretches the hamstrings and inner thighs, strengthens the core, side body, and outer hips externally rotates the hips, and twist the torso. There is a lot happening within the body in this one pose.

It offers countless physical benefits, but this shape also adds a mental challenge as well. As you balance on one leg in a rather precarious position, you’re forced to establish stillness within your mind to focus all of your awareness on this position.

So Half Moon Pose offers a plethora of benefits for both your body and your mind. But when you’ve been practicing it for long enough, you might feel the need to spice things up! 

There are many different ways that you can practice Ardha Chandrasana to find balance and stability within your own body, so give these five variations a try to add a new twist to your practice.

5 Creative Ways to Practice Half Moon Pose

Grab all of your favorite props to prepare for your Half Moon Pose exploration.

1. Kneeling Half Moon Pose

A kneeling version of Half Moon Pose or Ardha Chandrasana Pose.This variation of Ardha Chandrasana is a perfect warm-up for full Half Moon Pose. It’s also super helpful to establish the alignment of the shape within your body if you struggle to balance on one leg.

  1. Come into a Tabletop Pose (Bharmanasana) on all fours with your shoulders stacked over your wrists and your hips stacked over your knees.

  2. Stretch your right leg straight back behind you and open your hip as you turn your toes to point toward the right side of your mat. 

  3. Release your right foot behind your left foot and ground the pinky side of your right foot so you create a lot of surface area connection with your mat.

  4. Ground down into your left hand and rise to your right fingertips. Stay here or sweep your right arm up to the sky in a modified Side Plank.

  5. Root down into every body part that is in contact with the floor. Stay here or root down so firmly that your right foot naturally lifts off the mat.

  6. Immediately energize your right leg. Kick firmly through your heel and spread your toes.

  7. Hold for a few deep breaths before slowly releasing. Then, switch sides.

2. Hip-Abduction Half Moon Pose

Ardha Chandrasana of Half Moon Pose with emphasis on hip abduction. A classic Ardha Chandrasana uses hip abduction to create the shape. But you can intensify the work in the hip abductors by increasing the load pushing down against the outer hip. This can be done very easily with the weight of a yoga blanket or heavy bath towel or even a sandbag for an extra challenge.

  1. Place a block on the right side of your yoga mat, slightly behind your heels. Place a blanket, towel, or sandbag in front of your mat. Stand in Mountain Pose (Tadasana). 

  2. Spread your feet wide apart—about 3 feet—and stand with your feet parallel. Turn your right leg out 90 degrees, and your left foot, leg, and pelvis inward, 10 to 30 degrees. Your block should be about a foot in front of and a little to the outside of your right foot.

  3. Bend your right knee so that it tracks over your right ankle, coming into Warrior II Pose (Virabhadrasana II). 

  4. Extend your torso outward to the right and reach your right hand toward your block.

  5. Place your fingertips on your block or the floor in the top right corner of your mat.

  6. Lean your weight forward and spring off your back leg.

  7. Immediately kick your left foot back behind you to energize your leg and draw your thigh up to be roughly parallel to your mat.

  8. Lay your yoga blanket or towel over your left shin or hook your sandbag around your left ankle.

  9. Feel the weight of your prop pushing your leg down with the force of gravity. Then resist this downward pull by actively drawing your leg back up to be roughly parallel to your mat and in line with your right hip.

  10. Stretch your left arm up toward the sky and rotate your chest up toward the ceiling.

  11. Take a few long, deep breaths here before slowly releasing your left foot back down to the floor. Return to standing with your legs wide apart and your feet parallel. Then, switch sides.

3. Hip-Adduction Half Moon Pose

How to practice Half Moon Pose with the focus on hip adduction and with the support of a prop to assist balance.Although a classic Ardha Chandrasana uses hip abduction, you can bias your hip adductors with the simple use of a prop like a tabletop, counter, stool, or chair. This added prop can also help you to stabilize your balance in this shape.

  1. Return to Warrior II Pose with your right foot forward and your prop (either a tabletop, countertop, stool or chair) behind you.

  2. Extend your torso outward to the right and reach your right hand toward your block.

  3. Place your right fingertips on a block or the floor in the top right corner of your mat.

  4. Lean your weight forward and spring off your back leg.

  5. Readjust your stance so that you can rest your left foot over the prop behind you.

  6. Press your left leg firmly down into the prop beneath you to feel your inner thigh muscles activate in the shape.

  7. Stretch your left arm up toward the sky and rotate your chest up toward the ceiling.

  8. Take a few long, deep breaths here before slowly releasing. Then, switch sides.

4. Floating Half Moon Pose

Challenging your balance in Half Moon Pose by removing the support of the block or your arm touching the floor. Find greater balance in Ardha Chandrasana with this challenging, unsupported variation.

  1. Start in a Warrior II Pose with your right foot forward.

  2. Extend your torso outward to the right and reach your right hand toward your block.

  3. Release your right fingertips to a block or the floor in the top right corner of your mat.

  4. Lean your weight forward and spring off your back leg.

  5. Immediately kick your left foot back behind you to energize your leg and draw your thigh up to be roughly parallel to your mat.

  6. Stretch your left arm up toward the sky and rotate your chest up toward the ceiling.

  7. Root down firmly against your right foot and scissor your legs apart from each other.

  8. Gently corset around your waistline to feel your whole midline drawn toward your center.

  9. Kick back with more energy than you think you should so that the backward flow of energy allows you to float your right fingertips off your block or the floor.

  10. Either draw your right hand to your heart or stretch your right arm forward toward the top of your mat to counter the energy of your left leg kicking back.

  11. Take a few long, deep breaths here before slowly releasing. Then, switch sides.

5. Bound Half Moon Pose

A bound version of Half Moon Pose.Add another layer of challenge to the open twist in Ardha Chandrasana while also giving your balance an extra challenge as well.

  1. Start in a Bound Warrior Pose with your right leg forward. (Extend your arms behind you and either interlace your fingers or hold a strap between your hands.) 

  2. Look down toward the floor and focus your eyes on one, non-moving point. Keep your gaze locked there.

  3. Lean your weight into your front foot. Slowly and mindfully lift your back leg off the floor while maintaining the bind with your arms. 

  4. Lift your back leg up until it’s roughly parallel with the floor.

  5. Continuing to face forward, bend your torso toward the floor. Squeeze your right upper arm or shoulder and your leg together to help spiral your chest open toward the left side of your mat.

  6. Take a few long, deep breaths here before slowly releasing. Then, switch sides.

Spice Up Your Half Moon Practice With Creative Variations

There are so many creative and fun ways to practice every single pose in yoga. While traditional variations of postures are always a treat, it can also be nice to spice up your practice with a few fun and challenging modifications. 

Play around with these variations of Half Moon Pose, or perhaps create your own creative variations to keep your practice constantly evolving. 

 

Doug Keller, Yoga Teacher, YogaUOnline Presenter, the psoas and yoga

 

Leah SugermanLeah Sugerman is a yoga teacher, writer, and passionate world traveler. An eternally grateful student, she has trained in countless schools and traditions of the practice. She teaches a fusion of the styles she has studied, emphasizing breath, alignment, and anatomical integrity. Leah teaches workshops, retreats, and trainings, both internationally and online. For more information, visit www.leahsugerman.com.