Half Moon Pose
Half-moon pose, Ardha Chandrasana, is both a balancing and standing pose. It is used to strengthen the vertebral column, abdomen, thigh, buttocks, and ankles. While doing the pose you will also stretch your shoulders, vertebral column, and hamstrings. This pose really challenges both your leg muscles and your ability to balance.
Half Moon pose can be used as a transition pose when coming from Triangle pose as they are very similar in their stance. They are full body extensions and work on balance. This pose is used as an opener because once in it, it opens the chest shoulders and torso when in the full pose. It also lengthens the spine. Half-moon pose is a mild inversion pose and can relieve stress, anxiety and fatigue. This pose stimulates the organs helping to improve digestion and can be therapeutic for lower back pain and sciatica. Without a doubt Half Moon improves your sense of balance and full body coordination. It does this by helping to improve your body awareness and a sense for your body’s space in the moment.
To successfully do Half Moon Pose, stand at the top of your mat. Then step your left foot wide away from the top of your mat. Extend your arms out to shoulder height, making sure that your feet match up with your wrist. Turn your right foot at a 90 degree angle and your left foot at a 45 degree angle. Reach forward through your right side and bend at the hip to touch the floor (if you cannot reach the floor use your block). Make sure that your arms and shoulder are creating one line towards the ceiling. Turn your head to gaze at the ceiling following the top of your left hand. Bring your left and to your hip and bend your right knee turning your gaze to the mat. Start to bring you left foot off the mat making sure to stack your hips. Press firmly through your right hand and foot (keep your mind clear. At this point it may be a little more difficult but keep at it). Lift your left foot so that your leg is parallel to the mat. Make sure not to lock your knees and reach your left hand back to make a straight line with your right arm and shoulder. Drawing your shoulder blades firmly into your back, lengthen your tailbone toward your left heel. Hold the pose for one minute. To release from this pose, lower you left leg and return to triangle pose. Do the reverse on the other side.