Half Moon Pose for Balance, Focus and Strength

half_moon

 

Half Moon (Ardha Chandrasana) is one of my favorites… but it wasn’t always. The first time an instructor queued it when I was getting started with yoga, I thought it was crazy.

Put my right fingertips on the floor, raise my left arm and left leg AND look up at my left hand??? Look out lady practicing on the mat to my right – all 5 feet 10 inches of me is going to be falling on you!

My first few attempts were ugly. But, there was something about the pose that motivated me to keep trying it. I found myself trying it throughout the week, using the wall, a chair or anything I could to get everything stacked the way it should be while I struggled to look up at my outstretched arm.

Then… I got it. And I fell in love! Now, when this asana appears in my practice, I’m happy. I know it so well that it helps me gauge my focus, my balance and my strength at any given time. If I can’t stare up at my hand, it means that my mind is floating somewhere else, if I feel wobbly and unbalanced – I know it’s more than this pose, it’s time for me to check in and get my mind and body in sync and fiercely focused on the present.

Half Moon is great for:

  • Balance
  • Core strength
  • Focus

Tips for Mastering Half Moon Pose

When you’re getting started, Ardha Chandrasana can be a bit intimidating. So here are some tips to help you get the hang of it:

  • Use a block. Place a yoga block on the ground and take hold of it to help your lower arm handle the weight of your upper body.
  • Lean on a wall. Try starting the pose with your right hip and outside of your right foot up against a wall. Reach down with your right hand as you lift your left arm and leg and lean into the wall. Open up without the fear of toppling backwards. Switch sides, placing your left hip against the wall to start.
  • Prop your toes on the wall. Stand with your back to the wall, about as far away as your leg length. Bend forward into an airplane (warrior 3) planting the your right foot behind you onto the wall. Drop your left fingertips onto the ground and spin your right arm open as your right foot turns so that your toes go from facing down to facing out to your right.
  • Visualize your skeleton. In Half Moon, balance comes from stacking your bones like blocks. So, visualize your skeleton and think about stacking your hips on top of one another, over your knee, over your ankle. Same thing for your arms, stack fingertip to fingertip.

How to Take it To the Next Level

Once you’ve got the feel for it, you can play with your Half Moon to increase your strength and balance – but it takes serious focus – so only move onto these advanced variations with a clear mind.

  • Float your fingers. Once you feel your hips stacking over your leg, you’ll realize that your arm and your fingertips aren’t needed for supporting any weight. So try floating your fingertips off the ground a few inches. Work to get your spine parallel to the floor. It takes a lot of core strength and balance to do this.
  • Grab for the bind. Take the arm that’s hoisted into the air and use it to reach back for the top of your lifted foot. Peel your shoulder back as you pull on the top of that foot. It’s a great stretch that opens your hip, your shoulder and bends your back.

I hope that helps and that you learn to love this pose as much as I do!

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