One of the main goals of yoga is to harmonize the opposing forces of Sun (ha) and Moon (tha) within us. Balancing Half Moon gives us the opportunity to act this out by inviting us to work with strength and stability (yang, sun qualities) in our standing leg and openness and lightness (yin, sun qualities) in our lifted leg, arms, neck and head.
Benefits of Ardha Chandrasana
- The Bandhas create space in the abdominal cavity for digestive health.
- Improves balance and strengthens the nervous system.
- Allows us to become more intuitive about the lines of energy in our body.
- People with pain in the legs, ankles, feet or hips can practice this pose with their back against a wall.
- Stand with your toes touching and your heels half an inch apart. Spread and lift your toes. Feel all four corners of each foot come into contact with the earth. Feel that your weight is evenly distributed on the outside and inside of the feet. Feel a gentle pressure across the entire ball of the foot.
- Maintain this activation of the feet as you gently release your toes onto the mat. Slide your left leg back, extending from the ankle and bring your torso to a 45° angle toward the left. Your torso and your back leg are in one line. For some, this is enough of a challenge. If so, stay here and lengthen from the crown of the head to the toes of your left foot. You can experiment with lifting and lowering the toes of the back foot to test and improve your balance.
- For more of a challenge, lift your back leg. Keep the leg and the torso in one line and pivot forward from the hip crease. Your standing leg is the pivot point for the torso and the lifted leg to move in one piece.
- Keeping your torso and back leg in one line bring your torso all the way forward until your right fingertips come to the ground and your left fingertips reach toward the sky. As you reach your left arm straight up, you can use this movement to open your torso more fully to the side so that one long line of energy runs from the crown of your head to your back heel.
- Bring your neck and head in alignment with the rest of your spine and allow your head and neck to be in a natural position.
- Feel the muscles in your legs hugging the bones and push through the heel of the lifted leg.
- Maintain a steady gaze. Focusing on one spot on the floor or the horizon can help you keep your balance.
- Feel the armpits lift up into their domes and relax your shoulders down.
- Draw up the sides of the neck slightly in order to align your head with your torso.
- Feel space between each and every vertebra and allow each inhale to expand these spaces a little more. This brings the lumbar, thoracic, and cervical curves into a mild extension.
- Inhale to lift your torso as you simultaneously lower the lifted leg down. Engage your core muscles to help you stabilize.