Half Moon Pose
Half Moon Pose

Ardha Chandrasana is a standing, balancing posture that challenges the core strength. Known as Half Moon Pose, it is a great Asana to unify the mind and body by inculcating a sense of mindfulness. It is a beautiful pose that stretches the entire body while heightening the awareness. Before we look into the step by step guide for practicing this posture, let’s see how the pose got its Sanskrit name.

Ardha Chandrasana Meaning

Ardha Chandrasana is the Sanskrit word for Half Moon.

Ardha means Half and Chandra says Shining that literally translates into Moon. Asana is the Sanskrit word for Pose.

So why has the pose been christened as Half Moon? In the final posture, the body looks like a Half Moon. One of the palms rests on the floor while the other arm rests over the head, perpendicular to the floor. One leg is lifted up, parallel to the floor. In totality, the whole posture resembles strength and light.

This pose does look slightly challenging, but one can use props, wherever required, to experience the pose.

Benefits of Half Moon Pose

Here is what the pose has in store. Ardha Chandrasana

  • Strengthens the legs, ankles, thighs, buttocks, and abdomen
  • Opens and tones the chest and shoulders
  • Lengthens the spine and makes it supple and healthy
  • Stimulates the digestive system and reproductive system
  • Is therapeutic for digestive distresses such as constipation and sciatica
  • Has appositive effect on lower back pain and sciatica
  • Improves concentration and focus
  • Instills a sense of awareness and mindfulness
  • Activates and energizes Solar Plexus
  • Opens Heart Chakra
  • Stimulates Third Eye
  • Relieves anxiety and stress
  • Improves fertility
  • Has a positive impact on menstrual pain and PMS

How to do Half Moon Pose

Here is a step by step guide to practicing Ardha Chandrasana.

  1. Stand on top of the mat. Take a couple of breaths to prepare the body and mind for the practice. Separate the feet as wide as the hips.
  2. Roll the shoulders back and tuck the pelvis in. Lengthen the spine and engage the core muscles. Activate the quads and pull up the kneecaps.
  3. Once ready, inhale and lift the arms over the head. Exhale and fold forward from the hips and rest the palms on either side of the feet.
  4. Inhale and place the right foot at the end of the mat, bending the left knee.
  5. Engaging the core muscles, press the left palm into the floor and rest the right one on the right hip.
  6. Inhale and lift the right leg up, right foot facing towards the right side. Let the raised leg be aligned at the hip level. Press the left palm and left foot deep into the mat and balance the entire bodyweight on the same.
  7. Lift the kneecaps and engage the quads and gluteus muscle, pushing the feet down into the mat for support.
  8. On an exhale, rotate the right hip and stack it over the left hip. Keep rolling the shoulders away from the ears to open up the chest.
  9. Inhale and stretch the right arm up, towards the sky, palm opening to the right side.
  10. Gaze up to the right fingertips and hold the posture for seven deep breaths.
  11. To come out of the pose, exhale, close the right hip, and place the right palm down. Release the right foot next to the left foot.
  12. Inhale and slowly roll up to the beginning position.
  13. Close the eyes, stretch out the arms, and relax with awareness before repeating on the other side.

Half Moon Pose Preparatory Poses

  • Uttanasana
  • Prasarita Padottanasana
  • Utthita Parsvakonasana
  • Utthita Parsvottanasana
  • Utthita Trikonasana
  • Vrkshasana
  • Baddha Konasana
  • Virasana
  • Supta Virasana
  • Supta Baddha Konasana
  • Supta Padangusthasana

Half Moon Pose Follow-Up Poses

There are no rules as to which poses should one practice after Half Moon. Here are some ideas:

  • Parivrtta Trikonasana
  • Parivrtta Parsvottanasana
  • Garudasana
  • Natarajasana
  • Prasarita Padottanasana

Ardha Chandrasana Contraindications and Precautions

The practice is contraindicated in case of

  • Headaches
  • Migraine
  • Low blood pressure
  • Diarrhoea
  • Insomnia
  • Knee injuries
  • Shoulder injuries
  • Ankle injuries

It is advisable to look down or gaze forward [side of the lifted leg] if there is any neck injury.

Using Props with Half Moon Pose

Balancing in Ardha Chandrasana could be slightly tricky. One can practice the pose against a wall or with the help of a block.

Wall as a prop

Stand with the back to the wall about one foot away from it. Follow steps 1 through 6. Once the leg is up, rest the sole of the feet on the wall. Continue with rest of the steps.

Block as prop

Place one or two blocks on either side of the feet. Lift the leg up. Allow the palm(s) to rest on the block for support. Place the left palm on the block and raise the right arm to the ceiling while practicing with right leg up and vice versa.

Half Moon Pose with Yoga Blocks
Half Moon Pose with Yoga Blocks

Alternatively, the practitioner can rest both palms on the yoga blocks while opening the hip to the corresponding side. Gaze down in this case.

Deepen the Pose

Advanced practitioners can experiment with Parivrtta Ardha Chandrasana or the Revolved Half Moon pose to deepen the stretch.

In this case, follow steps 1 through 4.

  1. Engaging the core muscles, press the right palm into the floor and rest the left one on the right hip.
  2. Inhale and lift the right leg up, right foot facing towards the right side. Let the raised leg be aligned at the hip level. Press the right palm and left foot deep into the mat and balance the entire bodyweight on the same.
  3. Lift the kneecaps and engage the quads and gluteus muscle, pushing the feet down into the mat for support.
  4. On an exhale, rotate the right hip inward and stack it under the left hip. Open the left hip to the left. Keep rolling the shoulders away from the ears to open up the chest.
  5. Inhale and stretch the left arm up, towards the sky, palm opening to the left side.
  6. Gaze up to the left fingertips and hold the posture for seven deep breaths.
  7. To come out of the pose, exhale, close the left hip, and place the right palm down. Release the right foot next to the left foot.
  8. Inhale and slowly roll up to the beginning position.

Close the eyes, stretch out the arms, and relax with awareness before repeating on the other side.

Awareness is the key to this posture. While beginners can attempt this pose, it is advisable to strengthen the core and legs before experimenting the same.

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I’ve always been enthusiastic about discovering myself, the life and the people. I realize that I have to live in the present moment in order to do that better. This is the mindfulness. Yoga has become the part of my life for more than 5 years. I also completed my teacher training program (RYT 200, Yoga Alliance) and I wanted to share my experiences with everyone. I believe that the articles on YogaArt.com can help you reach out to the mindful state. Yoga is the Art of Mindfulness. Let's be present together. Namaste!

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