Discover the benefits of practicing half moon pose (ardha chandrasana) during yoga and try variations to build confidence, balance and strength in your body.
Half moon pose (ardha chandrasana) can teach us about balance, courage, resilience, and most importantly — life. It can feel unstable and frustrating (I’ve silently cursed as I’ve fallen out of the pose for the third time in a row). It requires overcoming the fear of falling and cultivating the determination to get back up.
I used to be intimidated by half moon pose during yoga classes, especially if I didn’t have a block or something nearby to use for support. It seemed like the pose came easily for so many students, whereas I was constantly nervous I would topple over and knock my neighbor down. I realized I was practicing from my ego, not my heart.
I started doing the pose at home with props so I could build stability in my rooted leg, engage my muscles and find opening in my hips and chest. The freedom to explore at my own pace in a safe space transformed the way the pose felt in my body. I learned to fall (in love) with half moon pose.
Half moon is now one of my favorite poses because I can feel my whole body expanding in multiple directions and my mind gets quiet. Do I still wobble, shake and fall out of the pose? Yes! But I have learned not to take it so seriously and to enjoy the progress I have made.
What are the benefits of practicing half moon pose?
Strengthen your ankles, thighs, glutes, core and arms
Stretch your hamstrings, hips, chest and shoulders
Increase flexibility, especially if you try the sugarcane pose variation (ardha chandra chapasana)
Improve your concentration
Are you ready to fall in love with half moon pose too? Whether you are trying it for the first time or looking to progress your practice, this video is for you! Make sure you are cleared by a doctor before trying this pose, especially if you are experiencing injuries in the arms, shoulders, ribs, hamstrings, ankle or hip, have low blood pressure, vertigo or nausea, or are pregnant.
Here are my top tips for half moon pose:
Always make sure your body is warmed up before trying the pose. I included a warm-up in the video above. You can also warm up with sun salutations
My favorite way to transition into half moon pose is from triangle pose
Start by leaning your body against a wall for support. As you get more comfortable with the pose, you can move away from the wall
Place a block on any height about six inches to the side and in front of your standing leg. Press your bottom hand into the block and align your shoulder over your wrist
If you would like a deeper stretch, remove the block and balance on your fingertips
If you would like to practice balancing, lift your fingertips off the ground
Lift and rotate your back leg so your toes are pointing to the side and your foot is flexed
Spiral your chest open toward the ceiling and lift your top arm up so it’s in-line with your bottom arm
Find a comfortable gaze. You can look down at a spot on the ground to help with balance. You can also look to the side or up at your top hand
For a quad stretch, bend the knee of the top leg and gently grab your foot with your top hand for sugarcane pose (ardha chandra chapasana)
Make sure to repeat all the variations on the second side so your body is even
It’s important to remember that balance and flexibility will change each day. Some days, this pose may feel effortless and some days, this pose may feel nearly impossible. Find the variation that allows you to feel most stable and get back up if you fall out of it.
How did half moon pose feel for you? I’d love to hear about your experience in the comments below. If you found the tutorial helpful, save it to practice again and share it with your yoga community.