Yoga 101: Balancing Half Moon
In this balancing posture, we embrace the moon in all its beautiful glory.
Balancing postures take not only balance in the body, but also balance in the mind.
Standing Half Moon posture, or ardha chandrasana, requires your focus (dristhi), your breath (pranayama) and the will to find stillness in a very strong posture. This posture helps align the spine and strengthens the hips, legs and heart. It creates inner lightness and allows us to glow like the moon, inside and out.
When I teach this posture to beginners, I offer them the wall and a block to help build strength for the posture. (See the photos of yoga instructor Thom Taylor demonstrating this technique.) And even after plenty of experience with this posture, I always like to have a block available just in case I am feeling a little tight.
As always, please check with your health care or wellness provider before trying any new exercises, and always warm up the body before entering into a new posture.
- Stand in Tadasana, the mountain pose. Begin your breath work, with three-part breathing.
- Enter Body Vinyasas with the arms, bring them up over your head as you inhale. As you exhale, bring them down to the sides of your body. Do 10-20 of these, focusing on your breath.
- Find your downward facing dog, and take 10-20 long breaths here.
- Step forward into your Warrior II stance, and hold it for 5-10 breaths.
- Reach your right arm up and over your body, finding extended side angle for 3-5 breaths.
Tip: Keep your focus downward. This makes balancing easier. To intensify the posture, shift your gaze to the sky, looking all the way up at that left arm once it is lifted.
- As you hold side angle, inhale deeply. As you exhale, bring your left hand to your waist.
- Have your block ready, and place it 10 inches from your pinky toe. Then place your right hand or fingertips 10 inches in front of the pinky toe, bringing your hand or fingertips to the floor or block.
- As you inhale, lift your left leg, flexing your foot and finding tadasana in the lifted leg. Align your hip, torso and the lifted leg in one long line of energy.
- Stand tall, and root your foot into the earth with your right leg, finding tadasana in both legs to support the lifted leg, hips and pelvis.
- Press into your rooted right hand. As you press down, lift the left arm up to the sky.
- As you stand tall in the rooted leg and flex your left foot, reach your heel away from your navel and the crown of your head.
- As you continue to press into your rooted foot and hand, spiral open the left side of your chest so your navel and pelvis open sideways. This is your center of gravity.
- You will begin to feel your belly, hips and pelvis expand and contract with your breath, and you will begin to feel a sense of flight or floating, as the moon does over us every night.
- Don’t forget to breathe slowly. Try to maintain consistent breathing to find the balance within.
Find your moon side. Enjoy every breath, and remember to always accept yourself and your practice as it is daily — ever changing, growing and glowing.