Ardha Chandrasana, or half moon pose is a lunar yogic journey. You start off on the ground, get ready for launch, and blast off into the pose. But with every successful launch there is a successful landing. You have to come out of the pose with the same balance and equipoise from whence you entered. I was at the studio where I teach today and did some of this pose in my own practice to commemorate the half moon that is shining down now. Here’s a how to:
Start in Tadasana (Mountain Pose)
Jump the legs 4 to 4.5 feet apart (1.5 meters) and extend the arms to the side.
Revolve the left foot a few degrees and turn the entire right leg and foot until it intersects the middle of the left arch.
Keep the legs firm as you extend the torso laterally to the right placing your right hand on a block or floor.
The left arm remains extended on the same plane as the right.
This is Utthita Trikonasana (Triangle Pose).
From Utthita Trikonasna, bend the knee 90 degrees.
Take your left foot toward the right one foot (30 cm)
Move your right hand forward one foot (30 cm) and wait. This is what this stage looks like:
Now place the block diagonal from the little toe one foot
This gives you a base for balance for beginning students. As you advance, you move your hand to the center line and eschew the block.
From here, move the armpit over the wrist, rotate the trunk toward the ceiling. You are ready to “blast off.”
To finish the pose, extend your top arm like Utthita Trikonasana and rote the head toward the ceiling. If balance is an issue, rotate the head to the floor:
To exit the pose, repeat the above steps in reverse. Lower the leg to the floor, extend the legs back to 4.5 feet, press with the right big toe mound to Utthita Trikonasana.
Here is a side note. Coming into Utthita Trikonasana (Triangle Pose) is a very different experience coming from the ground up than it is coming top down. It feels much more grounding and organic folding up from the floor like a flower blooming. Don’t throw this stage away! Doing that would be like eating all the artichoke leaves and not enjoying the heart.
From Utthita Trikonasana, keep the legs firm as you swing the top arm up to standing. Jump your feet back together to Tadasana.
And if you have the means, you can use a trestle. Many Iyengar studios have them. Notice I am using the trestle edge to further open the chest. My shoulders really felt this after an arm balancing practice yesterday.
Ground control to Major Tom! By following these steps, you have done Ardha Chandrasana and nothing’s wrong. Happy half moon!