Half Moon Yoga Pose is a fantastic pose to include in your practice to work on balance, both physically and spiritually, as it unites calm and cooling energy from the moon with the burning intensity of energy from the sun.
Be sure to practice this posture on both sides to correct any imbalances. You may also benefit from incorporating some hip and chest openers before transitioning into this pose as the torso needs to rotate.
Lost your balance? Don’t worry! Simply refocus your breath, reconnect with the earth, and remember to be present to find Half Moon.
Benefits of Half Moon Pose
Half Moon or Ardha Chandrasna gives the mind and body a gentle challenge and is often used as the foundation for advanced asana work.
Emotionally, this pose will help you develop your self-acceptance as it will take some time to fully master. Your self-awareness will also improve as you need to maintain integrity in your posture to hold the pose.
Remember – any yoga practice is a good practice and each practice will be different. You may be able to nail Half Moon one day but have difficulty the next. This is all part of your yogic journey and will help you develop self-acceptance.
Physically, Half Moon Pose will help develop strength in the joints of the leg which is essential for the prevention of osteoporosis as one gets older.
The strength required in the leg entering and exiting this yoga posture will result in the thigh bones feeling more rooted at the hip, improving your alignment and posture throughout your body. You will find that this is excellent for improving back pain.
Repeated practice of Half Moon Pose will strengthen and tone the abdomen and buttocks. This will leave you feeling – and looking – fantastic, a feeling that will only get better as your Half Moon journey progresses.
Strengthening the abdominal muscles can help improve digestion by promoting blood flow to the core area and muscle contraction and expansion will help mirror the movement of the intestines, allowing food to pass through without issue. Improved blood flow to the torso and muscles is going to help reduce anxiety and stress, keeping your mindset at its optimum level of health.
How to Do Half Moon Yoga Pose
Beginners will find this pose easiest to achieve by using a chair or something similar to provide support, relieving some pressure from the lower back.
To do this pose, let your feet find an extended triangle pose. You need to align your heels with about shoulder-distance apart, with one foot pointing forward and the other pointing 90° out.
Turn to look at the floor and gently bend forward at the hip. As you bend, try to visualize evenly transferring your weight onto just your front foot and rotating your torso out for expansion in the chest.
Bend until your forearm reaches the chair or whichever supportive surface you have chosen to use. You need to hold your arms in a ‘T’ shape whilst you are bending forward, but bend the front elbow at 90° so the forearm can rest on the support.
You should now have your feet in line, your chest facing out over the front foot, your forearm resting on the support, and your free hand pointing towards the ceiling. Keep the free arm engaged by thinking about extending through, and smoothly turn your head to look over the top of the extended hand.
Once you are secure in your position, you can lift your rear leg as high as you can. This movement should not be forced but equally, feel free to challenge your flexibility and balance. Be aware that raising the leg will shift more weight onto the front leg and supporting forearm – be sure that you do not collapse at the shoulder or hip and try to maintain good elongation and alignment.
Hold this Half Moon Pose variation for a few breath cycles, being sure to remain present, before lowering the leg back down and then bringing back the torso so you are in a straight line.
From here, why not switch sides or go into some Warrior variations for additional openness in the hips and chest.
Once you feel confident using a chair or feel ready to incorporate Half Moon Pose into your practice, begin with the feet in Extended Triangle. This means that your feet are shoulder-width or a bit wider apart, with one food pointing forward and the other out 90°.
Your feet should be in a straight line and be sure that the rotation comes from the hip, not the knee or ankle. So that your thighs are also facing forward and out 90°.
Extend the arms out to a ‘T’ position, then gracefully bend above the hip to bring the front arm down to rest on the inside of the ankle. Be sure to keep the spine as lengthened as possible and keep awareness through the fingers to help maintain balance.
Keep your neck relaxed and your soft gaze directed to the ceiling. This will also aid balance as your weight is shifted onto the front foot.
Bring the hand that is pointing to the ceiling down onto the hip and bring your gaze to the floor. Place the hand that is near the ankle directly underneath the front shoulder. Be sure to keep as much alignment as possible.
At this point, you have the option of introducing a block if you do not quite have the right level of openness in the hips. If you are using a block, you still need to make sure that your wrist is directly below the elbow which is directly below the shoulder.
Be sure to press weight through the mat or block to keep your posture balanced and steady. Once settled, gently raise the back leg until it is parallel to the floor, maintaining awareness as the weight shifts forward.
Once here, turn your chest so that it opens upwards slightly and reach the hand that was on your hip up to the ceiling. Keep your gaze focused on the floor on your hand as much as possible at this point as it will keep you aware of your posture, preventing any hyperextension of the knee and promoting good balance.
Hold for a few breath cycles then slowly exit Half Moon Pose the same way you entered, maintaining good awareness and being mindful of any transfers of weight so you can keep a good balance.
As you will finish in Extended Triangle, why not opt for some Warrior Pose variations? Taking a quick detour into Humble Warrior at this point is a great challenge for your balance and will help keep the strength in the shoulders and arms constant.