Build strength and release stiffness with an energy boosting pose.
Half Moon Pose (Ardha Chandrasana) Step by Step Guide
Start by entering in the extended triangle pose using your right side while placing your left hand on your left hip.
With an inhale, bend your right knee. Move your right foot anywhere from 6 or 12 inches away on the mat.
Bring down your right hand on the mat while putting pressure on the ground. Make sure your right leg is engaged and do not bend your knees while you lower your hand.
Slowly raise your left leg away from the floor in a parallel position. Your left arm should be raised up pointing at the ceiling with your fingers close to each other. Lower your right arm on the floor with your fingers spread.
Do not lock your knees. Keep your supporting leg flexible yet engaged.
Gently press some of your body weight on your right arm while your fingers are spread on the floor to test your balance.
Engage your core by drawing your abdominal muscles inwardly.
Hold the pose from 20 seconds to 1 minute. Release with an exhale and repeat the process by using the other leg.
Half Moon Pose Variations
There are many ways you can make the half moon pose easier or more advanced.
The pose can be quite challenging for new Yoga practitioners. Before you try any variations that deepen the pose, make sure you master the original version first.
Lower Arm up in the Air
This variation will remove the extra support you have from the hand that is being placed on the floor.
Challenging for both beginners and advanced Yoga practitioners alike, this variation will strengthen your leg muscles and teach your body how to maintain its balance.
Stand in the original half moon pose but modify the position of your arm. Instead of using your right arm to provide extra support to your leg, raise your arm to ankle-level while keeping your palm open with your fingers spread in the air.
Strengthen Your Hamstring
For this Yoga variation, you will need a Yoga block, which your right arm with rest on.
Instead of placing your hand on the floor with your fingers spread, use Yoga blocks that are tall enough to reach your ankle.
By placing your hand on the blocks, you will find it easier to maintain your balance. However, your hamstrings will be more engaged.
Use a Wall as Support
If you are not sure whether you can hold the pose without support, do not risk any injury.
For Yoga practitioners with balance issues, it is recommended to hold the pose near a wall, which provides more support.
Also, for this variation you will use Yoga blocks.
Perform the half moon pose using blocks (tall enough to reach the ankle) to place your hand on, and make sure you are around 2 inches away from a wall.
Place Your Foot on a Wall
In this variation, the leg that is parallel to the floor will be placed against the wall in a kicking position.
By applying pressure against the wall, you will find it easier to hold the pose by shifting some of your body weight on the foot against the wall.
For this variation you will also need Yoga blocks. While your foot is against the wall, your arm that is supposed to rest on the ground will be placed on blocks that are around ankle-level.
For another variation called “Bowed Half Moon Pose,” check out this article.
The half moon pose can prove to be quite challenging at times, but it can be made easier once you know how to control your body movements and avoid mistakes.
To help you out, I put together a small section dedicated to mistakes most beginners make, and how to fix them.
Hips Are Not Engaged
In the half moon pose, we tend to focus on the legs and arms and ignore other parts that can help us maintain our balance.
Hips can help the foot that is meant to be parallel to the floor stay straight. When the hips are not stacked, the leg has a droopy look to it.
To fix this, engage the muscles in your hips and try lifting your leg up one more time.
Back Does Not Draw a Horizontal Line
Your back should be in harmony with your the leg that is parallel to the floor.
When the shoulders are not stacked and the muscles around the spine are not engaged, the back tends to arch toward the floor. This leads to extra pressure on your wrist, which holds some of your body weight.
To avoid wrist injuries and get all the benefits of the pose, engage your shoulders and back muscles, trying to use your torso as an extension of your raised leg.
To read more about aligning your body correctly when in half moon pose, check out this post.
Knee Is Slightly Bent
Make sure the knee of the leg that supports your body weight is not bent. This makes it harder for your leg muscles to support your torso.
Engage your thigh muscles to provide more support to your knee.
Benefits of Half Moon Pose
The half moon pose is a powerful pose that strengthens your hips, legs, upper body, and arms.
You will benefit from it even if you are only interested in stretching your back and building more stability and flexibility. This asana does it all.
However, the half moon pose is not recommended for absolute beginners because it can be quite challenging to maintain your body.
Holding this pose requires strength, flexibility, and body awareness.
A Full-Body Strengthening Pose
To hold the pose properly, each muscle group in your body will be challenged, including your abdomen, legs, back, and arms.
Even though it may seem that only your legs are challenged, making sure your back is in harmony with the parallel floor requires quite a lot of concentration and effort.
Your hips will be challenged as well.
If your pelvic area is not engaged, the leg parallel to the floor will have a droopy look to it.
Your arms will be challenged, especially your wrists. This will help you build strength and prepare you for even more advanced poses.
Paired with a healthy diet rich in proteins, you can even build some lean mass.
Relieves Premenstrual Pain
Any pose that targets the pelvic and abdominal area will provide some benefits to women who are suffering from PMS.
The relief is caused by the calming effects of the pose as well as the pressure that is being put on the abdomen, which stimulates the reproductive system.
Increases Flexibility and Improves Posture
A sedentary lifestyle usually leads to a bad posture and stiffness in your back as well as a lack of flexibility in your entire body.
The half moon pose challenges every part of your body and increases flexibility by strengthening the muscles in your arms, legs, and core.
The pose also provides a deep stretch to your back, which can improve your posture.
Stimulates the Digestive System
If you are suffering from chronic constipation, the gentle abdominal massage that the half moon pose may offer some help.
Often times digestive issues are caused by lack of exercise stimulation. The half moon pose can help fix this by gently massaging the abdominal area.
Half Moon Pose and Sacral Chakra
The half moon pose stimulates the sacral chakra, the energetic point in your body that deals with your creative energy and your outlook on life.
When it comes to physical signs, the sacral chakra deals with the pelvis area.
You will benefit the most from the half moon pose if you have a low sacral chakra. If you are not sure what the signs of a deficiency are, think about whether you describe yourself as “uncreative” or “too serious”.
If you are having a hard time expressing yourself of just being joyful in general, this could indicate a weakness of the sacral chakra.
A love for routines, shyness, and fear to step out of your comfort zone are also signs of weakness in this energetic point of your body.
Infertility issues, pain, and a tendency to get injured in the pelvic area is also a sign of a deficiency.
When paired with meditation and setting an intention for your yoga practice, the half moon pose can stimulate your second chakra and help you find joy once again.
On the flip side, if you have too much sacral chakra you might be a in a continuous search for pleasurable activities as well as anything that feeds your reward system and makes you happy.
It may seem like a good thing, but many people who have an overly active sacral chakra sacrifice their duties towards others in other to satisfy their own desires, no matter how crazy those might be.
If you are suffering from diarrhea, osteoporosis migraines, or low blood pressure, you should avoid the half moon pose.
The pose should also be avoided after a rich meal.
Did you benefit from this article? Did I miss anything? Any feedback or suggestions would be appreciated – please post in the comments and I will personally respond!
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