Updated: Feb 2, 2022
Half Moon Pose—known in Sanskrit as Ardha Chandrasana—is a challenging balance pose that works on creating flexibility and strength throughout the entire body.
Are you curious to learn how-to do the Half Moon Pose? And which actions in other yoga poses can be used to help prepare and improve your technique?
In this blog we’ll break down the alignment principles of Ardha Chandrasana and share the reasons why you should try practicing it. As well as provide free practice printable and video guidance on the five yoga postures that will help develop how to do the Half Moon Pose.
Reasons Why You Should Try Practicing the Half Moon Pose | Ardha Chandrasana
Half Moon Pose works on simultaneously lengthening and engaging your hamstrings, quadriceps, glutes, and abdominals. While at the same time stabilising your ankle joints, opening your shoulders and hips, and creating length throughout your entire spine.
By bringing all the weight into one leg Ardha Chandrasana the posture helps you work on building strength in your legs. While the balance element of the pose supports the mind be steady, focused and concentrated on one point.
I’ve found I learnt a lot about myself during the journey of practicing difficult yoga poses.
It can also be fun and rewarding to practice advanced yoga postures! By challenging yourself in a gentle, non-judging way to practice balancing postures it can be an energising and inspiring way to maintain your yoga practice on a regular basis.
Tips for Practice
Like with all yoga practices it’s helpful to begin with some smaller, gentler movements like sun salutations to slowly warm the body up. And then to move into these five poses, building up to the peak pose—Ardha Chandrasana.
If you’re new to this pose and it feels a bit out of reach, you can always start with some of the first poses. And then as you get more comfortable with these, slowly build up towards practicing the Half Moon Pose.
Remember that yoga is all about integrating breath with movement. So keep focusing on your breath while your holding each pose, as well as when your moving between poses.
And finally try not to take your practice too seriously! Remember to have fun and that your doing a yoga practice, and not a yoga performance 😉
If you’re interested in observing your mental dialogue during your yoga practice check out my blog on the mindset of advanced yoga postures.
Half Moon Pose Sequence: Five Yoga Poses to Practice
The below Half Moon Pose sequence includes five yoga postures that are supportive to work on when preparing your body for the Half Moon Pose and to help improve your technique. Scroll-down to access the free printable practice sheet and video I've created based on these five yoga poses.
1. Three-Legged Dog Pose | Eka Pada Adho Mukha Svanasana
Practicing the Three-Legged Dog Pose—with your top foot flexed and hip opening—is a great way to work on engaging your glute and opening your hip.
The position of the lifted leg and outer hip is exactly the same technique that you want to develop for the Half Moon Pose.
By practicing and learning how this feels in your body, it will help you to be able to tap into the same technique and sensations in the peak pose, Ardha Chandrasana.
2. Triangle Pose | Utthita Trikonasana
The Triangle Pose (Utthita Trikonasana) focuses on lengthening and engaging your legs and stabilising your ankles. This pose also helps you work on lengthening your spine and engaging your core, while opening your shoulders and reaching away with your arms.
If you examine the way this pose looks and feels, it’s very similar to Ardha Chandrasana. The only difference is that in the Triangle Pose both legs being on the ground—and therefore it requires less strength in your legs.
Focus particularly on allowing the crown of your head to reach away from your hips and back foot, to help create the length through your torso and side body.
3. Side Angle Pose | Utthita Parsvakonasana
The Side Angle Pose (Utthita Parsvakonasana) works on engaging your front leg, while still creating length through your torso and space in your shoulders.
Allow your front knee to bend deeply, to support building strength in your front quadricep. At the same time press your back heel down and lengthen through your back leg.
This will help you develop the strength you require when balancing on one leg in Half Moon Pose.
4. Half Moon Variation with One Knee Down | Ardha Chandrasana Variation
A variation of Half Moon Pose with one knee down is a great way to prepare for the full posture. This variation will help you develop your balance skills with the body in a similar shape to the traditional Ardha Chandrasana posture.
You can work here on lifting up with your top arm to find lightness in the pose, while having a bit more stability with your bottom hand and knee on the ground.
Explore creating the length through your torso by reaching the crown of your head away from your hips and upper leg.
At the same time see if you can flex the foot of your lifted leg and spin the top hip open. Seeing if you can maintain these actions as you lift up the top foot and leg.
5. Half moon pose | Ardha Chandrasana
All of these actions we’ve been working on in the other four preparation poses are helpful to apply to the Half Moon Pose. Now it’s time to put everything together!
Really work on finding the lightness and lift in the pose. Think about expanding and lengthening in al directions!
Allow your standing leg to be long and active and lift up with your top arm and leg. Reach your torso and crown of your forward as your top leg reaches back.
If you’re still working on finding your balance you can try keeping your top leg a bit lower down. Or if the balance is working for you try with the standing leg a little bent and big toe of your top leg balancing on the ground.
Also by keeping your gaze looking down to the ground it will help steady you in the balance. Then over time as you start to find your balance you can experiment with bringing your gaze up towards your top arm.
And finally don’t forget to keep breathing while you balance!
Printable Practice Sheet for Half Moon Pose | Ardha Chandrasana
If you'd like a visual reminder to use in your home practice, feel free to print and use the below guide.
Guided Vinyasa Yoga Sequence Video for Half Moon Pose | Ardha Chandrasana
If you prefer to be guided through this practice you can follow along with my free vinyasa yoga sequence for the Half Moon Pose, Ardha Chandrasana via the below YouTube video. You can access all my practice videos at our Antara Yoga YouTube Channel.
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