Ardha Chandrasana or Half moon pose is a quite challenging balancing pose that really urges you to focus. This pose also requires a lot of muscle strength from your whole body but mainly your ankles, thighs, hamstrings, gluteus, and core. In Ardha Chandrasana you will stand steady and grounded on one leg while you balance your whole body on top of it. This pose has a lot of alternations for you to use and benefit from so go slow and steady. Let it take time and enjoy the process. There are several benefits to be gained in Ardha Chandrasana, a few of them are increased flexibility and strength. You will also work on your balance which will be helpful in your yoga practice.
In Sanskrit: Ardha = half," Chandr = moon, shining, glittering, asana = pose
Benefits of Ardha Chandrasana
Ardha Chandrasana will really challenge your balance, and it can take a couple of tries before you are able to include all elements. You will strengthen and add flexibility in your core, hips, glutes, thighs, hamstrings, ankles and spine. When in full pose it will also allow you to open up your chest and shoulders. Ardha Chandrasana is also said to have a stress-relieving effect on us as well as helping us enhance our stamina and coordination.
Ardha Chandrasana – step by step
When starting from Warrior II
● Straighten your right leg and move your left foot a bit forward if needed.
● Take all your weight and place it on your right leg and activate your thigh by pulling your kneecap up.
● Take charge and lift your left foot form of the floor making your body come forward until you are in a t-like position with your left leg and torso. Try keeping your arms in the same Warrior II position thought out the movement. For extra support, you can place one or both hands on the floor, or on a block.
● If you have both hands on the floor, lift your left hand from of the floor and straight up towards the sky while still keeping your right hand grounded. Try to think of it as your left arm pulling you up at the same time as your right arm is reaching down. This will help your body to keep steady and strong.
● Now place your left hip on top of your right hip, making your upper body and back leg turn sideways. This movement will enable your body to open up.
● If you have both strength and balance, try lifting your right hand from of the floor letting it hover.
● It will help your balance to keep your gaze focused on the floor but as you become more secure in Ardha Chandrasana, try turning your gaze towards your left hand.
When you are done, switch legs!
In half moon pose, you have a fantastic opportunity to use various tools to assist you during your journey into full Ardha Chandrasana.
● If you need to, use a block to support your bottom hand, this will help your balance and assist you if you are still working on your flexibility.
● If you have the flexibility but need help with your balance, you can use your fingers for support by grounding them into the floor, when you feel you have the balance slowly reach one hand up and let your grounded hand hover right above the floor.
● Another tip is to keep the foot that is lifted on a wall behind you, this will give you extra support and enable you to work on the position of the arms.
● Where you keep your gaze has a big impact on your balance in standing postures, the goal is to be able to look up towards your hand but as you will notice, that is a challenge! Keeping your eyes looking towards the floor is your first step. When you feel you are able to move on, start to slowly and bit by bit move your gaze towards the sky.
Did you lose your balance? No worries! Just try again.
Preparatory poses for pose Ardha Chandrasana
Triangle pose - Utthita trikonasana
Variations of Ardha Chandrasana
Variation 1 - Chapasana
When in full Ardha Chandrasana standing on your right leg try to let your left foot and left hand meet. Instead of reaching back with your leg and straight up with your arm, try to create a triangle-like shape like a crown for your body by bending your leg in a V-like shape with the sole of your feet facing forward and your hand reaching back.
Variation 2 - Bound angle
Have you found your strength and security in Ardha Chandrasana and is up for a challenge? Try a Bound Ardha Chandrasana where you instead of reaching your arms in opposite directions, bound them around you.
When standing strong and balanced on your right leg
● Lean further forward and down placing your right shoulder next to your right thigh. This will make your left leg go a bit higher which is ok.
● Now take your right arm and place it back and up, in between your legs with your hand moving towards the outside of your right leg and hip.
● Your left arm will then reach behind your back and down towards your right hand eventually letting them meet and interlace with each other.
● Keep your gaze down towards the floor.