It comes up in yoga classes quite frequently, but no matter your level is still a challenge, here’s how to do half moon pose
Ardha Chandrasana or half moon pose is quite the balancing act! It requires strong glutes to lift the top leg and plenty of core strength to catch your balance. It’s a challenging asana which is often featured in a flow so seldom broke down. Here’s how to do half moon pose.
In the beginning
The trick to finding your balance is to start with a deeply bent front knee to bring your centre of gravity down while your body works out how to accommodate this seesaw arrangement. Once your core kicks in, you can start to very slowly straighten out the standing leg and reach in all directions.
There is nowhere to hide with this challenging pose. It builds focus and concentration and is very grounding and centering. It strengthens the core, ankles, glutes, spine and quads. While also stretching the groin, hamstrings, calves and chest. It requires a lot of balancing skills and improves coordination and balance in our everyday movement. It also eases headaches and lowers blood pressure, while easing back pain. It’s also a great pose for relieving indigestion, menstrual cramps and can help east anxiety. So there’s quite the selection of benefits in this simple yet strong balancing pose!
Prepping for half moon pose
This sequence deeply works the muscles of the glutes at the back of the hips. This will help you connect to the muscles that will left the back leg. It will also wake up the supporting muscles of your whole core – front back and sides – to help you keep the top leg lifted. Play around with how it feels to use a brick and not use a brick to see which version suits you best.
How to do half moon pose
In your full version of the pose, connect with your belly button and radiate out through the standing leg into the support of the ground. Stretch out through the heel of the lifted leg, through the bottom arm, through the finger of the extended arm and finally through your tailbone and the tip of your crown. Think of yourself as a jellyfish reaching in all directions, originating from your strong core.
Coming into the pose
- From Trikonasana, with your right leg forward. Place your left hand on your hip and step your left foot forward a little.
- Bend your front knee and place your right hand on a brick roughly about a foot forward of the little toe side of your right foot. Press down through the three points of your right foot and lift the inner ankle.
- Keeping your right knee bent, inhale. Float your left leg up to hip height or slightly above, toes facing forward. When you have your balance, gradually begin to straighten your right leg.
- Flex your left foot and press out through the heel.
- Draw your navel towards your spine and squeeze the buttocks muscles.
- Hips and shoulders stacked, reach your left arm up high, palm facing left, gaze down or to your left fingertips.
- Before you come into the full pose try a version with both knees deeply bent. This will lower your centre of gravity to help you catch your balance and work the muscles of the legs to get them ready.
- Taking the pose up against a wall with the wall behind your back helps if you are finding it hard to balance. It also helps you to stack the hips and shoulders.
- Keep your top arm on your hip if you are finding it hard to stack the shoulders and work on broadening through the collarbones.
- Keep your gaze down to the ground until you are feeling steady and very gradually bring your gaze to the lifted arm.
- For a more challenging pose place your right hand around your right ankle.
Ruth Delahunty is a 200hr Yoga Alliance certified teacher and founder of Yogaru.ie, a yoga lifestyle website that promotes a yoga way of living both on and off the mat. For more information visit yogaru.ie.