I got some great feedback and questions regarding my first pose breakdown of Downward Facing Dog, so I decided to do some more of these. I also posted a little description of a different balance pose on my Facebook page the other day, and people liked the challenge so I wanted to do a full breakdown of a balance pose.
Balancing Half Moon (aka Ardha Chandrasana) is one of my favorite poses. Here’s a breakdown:
BENEFITS -Improves your balance
-Strengthens thighs, calves and ankles
-Strengthens the core
HOW TO DO IT
You can get into this pose from a variety of other poses. Let’s start out using the wall for support. I love teaching this pose with the wall when it’s possible, because you can really get the feel for the pose. It’s one that is difficult to know if you are doing correctly until you have the feel for it. If you are new to this pose, I recommend using a yoga block too (I’ve done this pose lots of times and still like to use the block for proper alignment). So, with the wall behind you, bring the block to the ground on your left side. Point your toes of your left foot towards the block and keep your right foot perpendicular to the wall. Start to drop your left hand towards the block as you shift your weight to your left foot and allow your right foot to come off the ground. The wall should be right there to support you, so you should not have to worry too much about the balance aspect of this pose at this time. Reach your left hand to the block as the right arm reaches up so the arms are in a long line with one another. Bring your right leg in line with your hip if possible. It’s a giant hip opener, so if your hips are feeling tight, don’t force anything. Flex your right foot as you lengthen from the crown of the head to your heel. Your back is against the wall (as much as possible) so your hips stack on top of one another. Hence the giant hip opener. Breathe and focus on something that is not moving. Your gaze can be out in front of you, or towards your hand above or below. Stay for a few breaths and then move on to the other side.
Once you are feeling confident with the pose, you can move on to add the balance aspect by taking the wall out of the pose. The cues above are all still basically the same. You can come into it from Warrior 2 by stepping your back foot in slightly to get there. You can come into it from Pyramid Pose, which I think is a bit less challenging, but make sure to open your hips as you come into the pose. Keep just a tiny micro bend in your supporting leg to make sure you never lock out your joints.
PREP FOR THE POSE
Some poses to help you prepare for this pose are: Side Angle, Extended Angle, Triangle. Also, Kneeling Side Plank with a leg lift is very similar to this pose, just done on your knee. The alignment looks really similar.
I hope this helps you to get a feel for Balancing Half Moon. If you’ve done it before, try it against the wall once anyway and see if it still feels the same. Remember there is no perfect pose and never force your body into a position that isn’t right for you today.
I’ll be doing more of these pose breakdowns in the near future. I’ve already had a few requests for certain poses (thank you to those of you who wrote me with what you would like to see!). I’m thinking of putting together an e-book with pose breakdowns, if that is something that interests you, please send me a message at email@example.com so I can see what the interest level is before I start.
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