On our first day of yoga teacher training, we were asked what our three most difficult poses (read: LEAST FAVORITE) were. At the time, headstand was my main nemesis, with Ardha Chandrasana – AKA Half Moon Pose, coming in a close second.
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Times have changed and (most days), I love inverting – but often, Half Moon still haunts me through tight hips.
Here are a few tips & tricks I’ve found helpful as I learned to love this beneficial (some of my favorite benefits… improving coordination, balance, stress relief, and major strengthening and stretching along the lower body) yet oh-so-challenging (to me) posture!
1) Open your hips properly before attempting. My favorite pose to do prior to half moon is a deep hip opener like Frog Pose.
2) Use a wall (and props!) Attempting this pose against a flat wall allows you to press your top hip up & square it off without losing your balance. Placing a block underneath your bottom hand is also a great way to feel the stretching in this posture without adding unnecessary difficulty as you reach for the ground and eventually float your hand off of it. If you don’t have a large enough wall, have a friend stand behind you and do this same thing, using them the same way you would to press into & open! A tall, study water bottle also works great as a makeshift block.
3) Know your body. Your pose may not look like the perfect angle found in a magazine, and that’s BEAUTIFUL! My hips always look slightly internally rotated, and I’ve found that point that allows me to balance while also feeling the stretching & strengthening benefits of this posture.
How to get into Half Moon (from a forward fold).
1) Place your right hand 12+ inches in front of your right foot on the ground or a block & bring your left hand to your left hip.
2) Start to press your right hand & foot down & straighten your right leg as you lift your left leg off the ground, flexing your foot & drawing your leg towards parallel with your mat.
3) Once your legs are both engaged, start open up, stacking your left hip & left shoulder over your right, keeping your left hand on your hip as you go. Your gaze can stay down or slightly forward. Continue to flex through your left foot & keep your left leg long.
4) If you’d like, start to lift your left arm to the sky, eventually taking your gaze up. Find a lightness through lifting through your left hand, and [eventually] start to hover your right hand off the mat, balancing on your right leg solely.
5) Hold for 10-30 breaths, release into a forward fold, and then repeat on other side.
– Elyza Dolby