Prasarita Ardha Chandrasana
Prasarita means separate leg, ardha means half and chandra means moon. Although the direct translation of this pose from Sanskrit is Separate Leg Half-Moon pose, it is also popularly known in English as Separate Leg Crescent Moon and Crescent Moon pose.
In most traditions (including yogic mythology), the sun represents the fraternal or yang principle. The moon represents the maternal or yin principle. The energy of the moon is receptive, mysterious, intuitive, and illuminating.
Benefits of Crescent Moon
- Opens the chest and allows for deeper breathing, working all the muscles of respiration.
- Activates all chakras simultaneously, creating balance in your energetic body.
- Creates traction for the spine, lengthening the vertebrae away from each other.
- People who suffer from lower back pain, sacroiliac discomfort or hip pain may benefit from assuming a shorter stance.
- Start in mountain pose with your toes together and your heels half an inch apart. Step back with your left foot until your feet are as wide apart as the length of one of your legs in triangle stance.
- Check to make sure your front foot is parallel with the edges of the mat.
- Turn the toes of the back foot out so the back foot is almost parallel to the back of the mat. The foot is on a slight angle forward so that the foot and knee maintain healthy alignment by pointing point in the same direction.
- The back heel is in line with the front heel.
- Ensure that the back foot is not crossed behind the front foot.
- Exhale and place your left hand on your back leg. Lift your right hand up toward the sky with the palm facing toward you.
- Inhale and feel a stretch along the front side of the body, extending the spine. Feel any tension melting away.
- Feel how the lower abdominals engage. The pubic bone moves up toward the navel and the sacrum glides downward. This reduces excessive arching in the lower back and creates traction for the spine from the sacrum to the crown of the head.
- Make sure to maintain length in the waist in order to avoid compressing the left side of the body too much.
- Feel a stretch along the side of the body that is stretching. Feel any tension melting away.
- For more of a challenge: pivot on the back foot, turning this into a high lunge variation.
- Lower your front arm back down to shoulder height and step your back foot forward into mountain pose.