Increase ankle strength and stability, up your spacial awareness (proprioception), and open up to autumn changes with Half Moon.
Half Moon Pose
Alias: Ardha Chandrasana (“ardha” = half, “chandra” = moon or shining, “asana” = pose)
Why Half Moon?
Mild inversions where your head is lower than your heart are thought to calm the nervous system, so this pose gains major points for helping reduce stress. The other effects? You’ll feel a stretch across the chest and hips, and be able to better notice where and how your body moves through space. Stabilizing through one leg and lifting the other also builds strength in both legs and your core—you’re sure to notice that effect immediately.
Getting into the posture:
- Begin standing with your left hand resting on your left hip.
- Step your right foot forward 2-3 feet.
- Slightly bend your right knee and place your right hand on the ground about a foot in front of you.
- Shift your weight completely to the right leg and raise your left leg up to hip height.
- Gently flex your left toes toward your face and push back through your left heel.
- Engage your core by pulling belly to spine.
- Lift your left arm toward the sky and rotate your chest up.
- Hold the pose for 10-30 seconds.
- Exit the pose by lowering your left foot to the floor and coming back to stand.
- Repeat on the other side.
Tips for success:
- Keep a microbend in the standing knee to avoid overextending.
- Stack your left hip directly over your right hip.
- Push through your standing leg as much as the lifted leg.
- Use a wall to help support you as needed.
- Keep that core engaged and imagine opening up as you physically rotate your chest toward the ceiling.
- You can also move into Half Moon from Warrior II Pose or from Triangle Pose.
Use a block: Half Moon is a challenging practice in balance. Place a block underneath your grounded hand for extra stability and greater ease in reaching toward the ground.
Use the wall: Practice Half Moon against a wall until you gain more strength and stability.
“Candy Cane” (Ardha Chandra Chapasana): Start in Half Moon with your left leg in the air. Bend your left leg and bring your foot toward your glute. Reach back with your left hand and grasp the outside of your foot. Keep your core engaged and hold for 15-30 seconds. Exit carefully, releasing the foot first. Repeat on the other side. You can also use a strap to capture your foot if you cannot grab it with your hand.
Contraindications (when to be cautious):
Headache: Bringing your head lower than your heart will increase blood flow to it. If the pressure is too much, wait for the headache to subside before practicing the pose again.
Low blood pressure: Move slowly and breathe deeply as you move into and out of the pose.
Previous lower back injury: This pose engages muscles in your lower back. Start slowly and build up endurance if you’ve had a back injury.
Previous neck injury or extra neck tension: Look at the ground or relax the neck completely.
Natalie Sober is a yoga enthusiast who is inspired to share her knowledge. Natalie completed her first RYT-200 hour yoga teacher training course in Telkot, Nepal, in the Sanatan style of yoga before obtaining her second RYT-200 hour certification in the Power Vinyasa style.
Interested in learning more? Check out other poses in our Yoga Blog Series!
*Please consult your physician before beginning this series or any exercise program. As always, your body is the best teacher so listen to the cues it gives regarding whether or not a pose is a good idea.