Since balance poses are not where I feel confident, I decided to explore one for my 6th assignment. Half Moon, also called “Ardha Chandrasana,” is an extended full body balance yoga pose. It strengthens the thighs, ankles, abdomen, and gluts as well as opens the chest, shoulders, and torso. Also, it lengthens the spine while stretching the groins, hamstrings, and gastronomes muscles. (Yoga Outlet).
Here are the steps on how to get into Half Moon pose while standing in mountain pose. It's easiest to transition from Triangle pose. Take your right leg back, as if you were to get into Triangle. Your left foot will be facing toward the front of the mat and your right foot will begin parallel to the back of the mat, both legs straight. Take both hands up as a straight line from the shoulders. Essentially, this is warrior 2 with straight legs. Then, strengthen the core and breathe as you shift your weight to your left side of the body and take your left hand down to meet your leg, wherever it meets. It can be above or below your knee, or on a block on the front or back side of your body. Look down at your hand as you begin to shift all of your weight on your left leg while raising the right leg in the air. With easy and stability, and your right hand on your right hip, you can grab your block and place it in front of your left foot. Or, you can have your fingertips touch the floor to keep balance. With careful easy, begin to twist the torso up to the sky while raising your right arm to the sky. As you unfold into this asana, make sure the shoulders are stacked on top of each other and that both wrists are placed on the same line, stretching in both directions. At the same time, make sure your heart is open and that there is a slight bend in your left knee to prevent injury. Your right leg can either be at a 90 degree angle or higher, as long as it is stretching away from the body. Your head can be facing down, forward, or up at your right hand.
In yoga teacher training at Asheville Community yoga, our teacher Kelly showed us helpful tips on how to use the wall to practice this balance yoga pose. One variation is to place the raised foot on the wall for balance. The other variation is to use the wall for assistance from behind your body. Having your back against the wall is a very supportive structure to ensure your upper torso is really open and twisting toward the sky. It is easier to strengthen the pose first and then add the balance component when you are more rooted in the position.
Balance poses are quite tricky for me. This yoga asana is extremely challenging because it requires stretching in all directions, remaining alignment, keeping the core strong, twisting the torso, keeping the heart center wide open, having a slit bend in the standing leg, balancing the right leg in the air, while being light and lifted on the joints.
It's all around excellent for whole body strength and focus!
Radiate elegance as la Luna!