Half Moon Pose, also known as Ardha Chandrasana, is an excellent yoga pose that works well in conjunction with all three Warrior poses. You will be able to feel prana building in the supporting leg as it draws energy from the ground up to the hip. 

The focus in Half Moon Pose is balance, but once you have mastered the ability to stand on the leg in a sideways position, you will be able to add subtle shifts in the body to broaden this posture’s benefits. Instead of reaching for the sky with one arm, you can fold it behind the back to force the shoulder and chest to open wide, activating your heart chakra. To lengthen the quadriceps, use your hand as a guide to bring a bent leg behind you. 

Yoga welcomes all abilities, and if you find this intermediate pose too challenging, you can invite a sturdy wall or chair into your practice to help guide your balance.

Benefits of Ardha Chandrasana

Ardha Chandrasana works the hips while simultaneously opening the pelvis. You will be able to feel each joint stretching as if awakening after hibernation. While you wide the pelvic area your legs will begin to increasingly endure their stance with one elevated and the other keeping the body steady. 

As the one leg is lifted, your hip flexor works to keep it supported which will benefit for everyday posture in the long run. While balancing the side body can be a challenge, Half Moon Pose lets you discover a new part of your practice.

Chakras involved in Half Moon Pose

Free your Anahata, or heart chakra, as you spread the arms open and welcome the incoming energy from the universe. Feel the prana in your throat chakra, or Vishuddha, that helps you find and speak your truth.
Your Svadhisthana, the sacral chakra which is located within the pelvis, opens wide and sends sensual vibrations throughout the body. After you complete Half Moon Pose you may feel the urge to engage in something artistic that combines the beauty of all three of the aforementioned chakras.

How to practise Ardha Chandrasana

1. Begin in a standing position anywhere on your yoga mat. Ensure you have enough space to reach the leg outward and the head forward without injuring yourself. Face the wide edge of your mat.
While it does not matter which side you start with, for the sake of this instructional guide, you may face the right side of your mat.
2. As you face the right side of your mat, have your toes pointing in the same direction as your front. Begin to shift your weight to the left foot by pressing yourself into the four corners of the foot: the baby toe, the big toe, and each side of the heel. You should be able to lift the right foot from the ground.
3. While keeping your posture straight, the core tight and tailbone tucked in, begin to slowly drop to the left. Reach your left arm to the ground while your straightened right leg begins to rise. Think of the left arm and right leg as connected, and as one moves, so will the other.
4. Let your palm touch your yoga mat or block and adjust the right leg until it is parallel with the ground. Use this chance to bring your awareness to your posture, starting from the head and working your way down to both feet. The head can be turned to face the ground, or looking up towards the sky.
The right arm will reach as if skimming the clouds, the shoulder pulled away from the ear. Your obliques should create a straight line down to the hips and then the raised right leg while your left leg remains strongly connected to your yoga mat. You have the option of flexing the foot or pointing it – experiment to see how a change could affect your balance.
5. Breathe into the side body and find one point to fixate on. Holding your eyes on one small area can help you keep your balance.
6. When you are ready to come out of Ardha Chandrasana, lower the lifted leg in a controlled motion and at the same time, allow the left arm to come off the floor. Remember, these two limbs are connected, and when one moves, the other follows.
7. You should have returned to a standing position facing the wider edge of your yoga mat. From here, find a way to work the opposite side of the body either immediately or through a symmetrical yoga sequence.

Tips for Beginners

1. In yoga, you are always free to add any number of props to support your practice. Utilize any prop you wish that will keep you moving forward as a yogi.
2. In a pose where each body part is doing something different, such as in Ardha Chandrasana, remember to check in from head-to-toe so your posture remains in the ideal state. Is your foot flexed or straight? What happens if you lift the leg higher? Where is your gaze and how does it change how you hold your neck?
3. The neck relies on its own muscles to carry itself, which can be daunting. Looking towards the ground will take away some of the stress of the neck while looking up can add to it. Experiment to see which is best for you.

Optional Props to help you practice Half Moon Pose

1. If you find your supporting arm is struggling to read the ground, a yoga block or two (or similar tool) placed under the hand can help elevate the core and adjust where your body is working most to support itself.
2. Add a sturdy chair (placed against a wall if your chair is prone to moving) just under the lifted leg if you are having difficulty keeping the leg raised.

When to Avoid the practise of Ardha Chandrasana

Any yoga position that requires the neck to be held without support could have a detrimental effect on any pre-existing neck condition.

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