In the spirit of Chandra--our October theme of the month--channel the energy of the moon with Ardha Chandrasana. The ancient sages of yoga proclaimed that our bodies harbor the energy of the sun and moon. In half moon pose, we honor the moon side of the body. In Sanskrit, ardha means "half," and chandra translates as "glittering or brilliancy of light." That brilliancy of light is said to be that of the moon. This posture requires grounding in the standing leg and energizing the lifted leg. As such, when we practice ardha chandrasana, we balance the energy of our solar side with the grounding benefits of the moon side.
1. Stand at the top of your mat. Turn to the left and straddle your feet apart.
2. Extend your arms to the side in line with the shoulders. Ensure your feet are as wide as your wrists.
3. Pivot your right foot 90 degrees so that it points toward the top of your mat. The left toes turn in slightly. Align right foot so that it bisects the arch of the back foot.
4. Reach forward with the right arm in the same direction as your right foot. Simultaneously, hinge your hip back and fold at the hip. Place your finger tips on the floor or to a block.
5. Soften the right knee as you tip-toe your right fingers forward and place the left hand on the hip.
6. Press firmly into your right hand and foot. While straightening the right leg, lift the left leg parallel to the floor. The hips and shoulders stack.
7. Make sure the lifted leg is inline with the hip. If you can look back, you should be able to see the foot. Pull the right hip down and back toward the left heel (this is a subtle, fine alignment).
8. Extend the left arm toward the sky, making a straight line from wrist to wrist. Set your gaze on the left thumb.
9. To exit the pose. Lower your left leg, return to triangle pose. Press into your feet to rise. Repeat on the other side.
To modify or go deeper:
Look down or to the wall for help with balance.
If you cannot reach the floor with the bottom hand, use a block.
Beginners can modify by performing this pose with the back against a wall for balance.
A wall can also be used to support the lifted leg: Stand a leg's distance away from the wall, and stand with your back facing the wall. Lower your torso to come into a forward fold with hands or fingertips to the Earth or blocks. Raise the left leg parallel to the floor. Then, press the sole of the left foot to the wall with toes pointing down. Rotate the torso and left leg to the left, coming into half mood pose wit the left foot supported against the wall.
To challenge balance, set your gaze to the top hand.
Place your bottom hand to your heart for poet's pose.
Cautions and Contraindications:
Do not perform this pose if you have the following: headache/migraine, low blood pressure, diarrhea, or insomnia.