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Paying attention to the lower body is as important as taking care of the upper body and mind. But, we often ignore the nourishment of the lower body, in comparison to the upper body.
Yoga includes various Yoga Asana, that helps in the well-being of the lower body. Among these, there is an asana that enhances your ankle and leg strength. This asana is Half Moon Pose or Ardha Chandrasana. In this article, we will see every detail about this asana.
Half Moon Pose: Ardha Chandrasana
Half Moon Pose is an intermediate level standing and balancing asana, in which we have to balance our body on one foot while leaning forward. This asana stretches various body parts, hence improves the flexibility of these body parts.
The parts and muscles of the body, Ardha Chandrasana mainly stretches are given below.
- Ankles and knees.
- Thighs and hamstrings
- Hips and waist
- Lower back and core
- Arms and shoulders
The body posture in this asana looks like a Half Moon glowing in the dark sky; therefore, we call it Half Moon Pose or Ardha Chandrasana.
Half-moon is the perfect balance of darkness and light. It represents the union of dualities. The same thing happens with us when we perform Ardha Chandrasana. We unite the lunar & solar energies within us and enhance them.
The term Half Moon Pose is also used for other asanas, depending on the Yoga style and system.
In Shivananda and Bihar School Of Yoga, Half Moon Pose term is used for Anjaneyasana which is a part of the Moon Salutation series.
While in Bikram Yoga, the Half Moon Pose is described as a two-legged standing side bend, commonly known as Indudalasana. We can see its modern use in BKS Iyenger’s Yoga Asana, described in “Light on Yoga”.
Now, let’s see how you can perform this asana.
How to Do Half Moon Pose
Achieving the Half Moon Pose is not very tough. You just need to focus and bring balance to your body. You should follow the following steps to perform this asana correctly.
Preparing the Asana
- Firstly, stand straight on your feet on a mat, toes pointing forwards. Keep a little distance between your legs.
- Now, move your left leg forwards about one leg length (1.5-2 foot) distance and turn the left toes towards left.
- Keep your left hand along the left side, placing left palm over the left thigh.
- Now, bend your right knee and place your right hand on the floor, on the side of the foot.
- Keep the left foot stretched and do not let the left hip to fall forward.
Getting Into the Pose
- Move your right hand forward and place its fingertips three palms (length from waist to shoulders) distance ahead of the right foot, but not in the line of the right foot.
- Exhale, press the finger-tips of the right hand on the floor and straighten your right leg. Along with this, lift the left leg off the floor. Simultaneously, twist your torso towards the left.
Note- Keep the left toes facing the sides of the mat.
- Now, raise your left hand and bring it in the line of right hand and shoulders.
Note- BKS Iyenger describes the upper hand to be placed over the left side of the waist. But, in modern yoga, you have to raise it.
- Slowly turn your head up and gaze at the palm of the left hand.
Here you will maintain your balance on your right palm and right foot.
- Now, start taking deep breaths and hold this position for 15-30 seconds according to your comfort.
Checkpoint- Here your both hands will be straight and in line with the shoulders. Your both legs will be straight and stretched. Your right toes will be facing towards the head, while your left leg will be facing towards the left side of the mat.
Releasing the Pose
- When you are done, bring the left hand to the left side of the body.
- Now, slowly bend your right knee, lowering the left leg. Then, place the left foot on the floor, lifting the right hand off the floor and stand straight.
This is the procedure of Half Moon Pose from the right side. Repeat the same with the left side.
When you have completed the procedure from both sides, simply come to stand at ease, or lay down and relax.
In the beginning, you might face difficulty in keeping the grounded leg straight. So, it is okay if you bend the standing leg a little, but don’t bend it too much.
If you can not move your lower hand’s palm to the floor, you can place a yoga block under it, for support. Also, you can take the support of the wall behind you, in the beginning.
You are advised to take the help of a partner or instructor if needed.
Precautions and Contraindications
- Do not lean too far or drop your torso much. Also, do not lift your leg too much. Keep the body well balanced. Otherwise, you might fall.
- As this is a balancing asana, you might fall while performing this asana, in the beginning. So, put some folded blankets or some soft things around you, so that, if you fall, you won’t get hurt.
- Do not lock your standing knee; instead, keep it firm.
- People with neck problems should not turn their heads upwards. Instead, look straight ahead or keep the head normal.
- Do not overstretch your body. Just stretch the body until you are comfortable, do not force your body to do the extra stretch.
- Perform this asana on an empty stomach or after 4-6 hours of having a meal.
- Patients of diarrhoea, low blood pressure and migraine should avoid this asana.
- If you have any recent or grave injury on your legs, back, shoulder or arms, you must not do this asana. It can be painful to perform Ardha Chandrasana in such conditions.
- If you have weak legs or weak back, consult a doctor before performing this asana.
- Triangle Pose (Trikonasana)
- Warrior Pose I (Virabhadrasana I)
Follow Up Poses
- Mountain Pose (Tadasana)
- Corpse Pose (Savasana)
- Parivrtta Ardha Chandrasana (Revolved Half Moon Pose)
- Baddha Parivrtta Ardha Chandrasana (Bound Revolved Half Moon Pose)
Benefits of Half Moon Pose
Ardha Chandrasana gradually improves your body balance and coordination. It removes stiffness from the body and enhances mobility. Here is a list of benefits of Ardha Chandrasana that you can get if you practice it regularly.
- This asana gives a good stretch to the lower back muscles. Thus it helps to relieve the back pain and keep the spine healthy.
- Half Moon Pose increases the mobility of hips and thighs, so, if you have any problem like sciatica or anything related to your thighs, hamstrings or glutes, this pose is beneficial for you.
- This asana tones core muscles. Through the massage of the core organs, it decreases gastritis, indigestion, and constipation.
- It improves the flexibility and strength of your knees, calves, and ankles.
- Ardha Chandrasana brings calmness and relaxation to mind. It soothes the brain nerves, removes negative emotions such as anger, depression, mental stress, anxiety, etc. Also, it stimulates self-awareness within us.
- Practising this asana relieves menstrual pain and prevents menstrual disorders. Also, it is beneficial to cure osteoporosis.
Along with your physical strength and balance, this asana also requires your mental consciousness. The most common thing that hinders you from performing a balancing asana is fear of falling. So, at first, conquer this fear. Once you overcome your fear of falling, you will find this asana very easy to perform.