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Ardha Chandrasana, Half Moon Pose

It’s been a little while, but I am back with another pose breakdown for you! This pose, Ardha Chandrasana, or Half Moon Pose is one of my favorites. I am a bit biased because it’s a moon pose. But I also love how it requires laser sharp focus, no matter where I am in my practice. It’s a standing pose, it’s a balancing pose, and it requires a whole lot of core engagement.

Let’s get into some of Iyengar’s thoughts on it’s benefits, taken from Light on Yoga:

It tones the lower region of the spine and the nerves connected with the leg muscles and it strengthens the knees. Along with other standing postures, this asana cures gastric troubles.

He also says it can help “those whose legs are damaged or infected.” This is a very strong pose, so he suggested those that feel challenged by standing poses should maybe skip this one. I do agree Ardha Chandrasana is difficult, but I’m here to share 2 modifications to make it more accessible.

First, here’s how to enter the full version of the pose, with formal entry from Light on Yoga:

  1. Stand in Tadasana. Proceed to enter into Trikonasana, Triangle Pose, on the right side.
  2. Bring your left hand to your left hip. Step your left foot in halfway. Bend your right knee and walk your right hand forward about a foot, your thumb as wide as your pinky toe.
  3. With an exhale, raise your straight left leg up off the floor. Push down through your right hand and straighten your right leg.
  4. Keep the gaze down for balance. Inhale, with an exhale, tone your core and pull your right ribs forward, draw your left ribs back. Draw your left shoulder back. Then reach your left arm up, wrist over shoulder.
  5. Once you find steadiness, you can turn your gaze up. Even partway counts!
  6. Hold the pose for 3-5 breaths. Bend your right knee and step back with your left leg to return to Trikonasana.
  7. Repeat the pose on the left.

Both the entry and finding the balance in the pose can be hard. If you only have trouble getting your standing leg straight, use a block under your hand to lift the floor up, allowing yourself more space to lengthen your hamstring. If balance is an issue, try using a wall.

  1. Stand with your back against the wall in Tadasana.
  2. Instead of coming in from Trikonasana, stay narrower in your stance and turn your right foot out, your foot parallel to the wall, about a footprint’s distance away. If you want a block, hold it in your right hand.
  3. Soften both knees. Reach forward with your right arm. Lower your hand or block to the floor. Lift your left leg off the floor. Straighten both legs.
  4. You can then use the wall for support. Your right hip will easily touch the wall. Bring your right shoulder.
  5. Inhale, with an exhale, tone your core and pull your right ribs forward, draw your left ribs back. Draw your left shoulder back, trying to bring it to the wall. Then reach your left arm up. If your left shoulder is not to the wall yet, do not bring your left hand to wall. Keep wrist over shoulder.
  6. You can play with your left heel touching the wall and away from the wall. Keep a strong tone to your core.
  7. Hold for 3-5 breaths. Bring your left hand to your hip. Soften your right knee. As you lower your left leg to the floor, your right arm will come up. Return to Tadasana and repeat on the left.

Ardha Chandrasana is Spring Yoga’s pose of the month, so if you try any version, snap a photo and upload it! And don’t forget to tag us both! Good luck, my friends!

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