(Half Moon Balance Posture))
ardha = half
candra = glittering, shining, holy brilliance; or “moon”
This pose focuses on the side of the body, lengthening and toning. This yoga posture alleviates respiratory problems and adjusts spinal placement. Practice of Complete Breath will compliment this posture and it's effects on health.
Strengthens and Strengthens the abdomen, groins, hamstrings and calves, ankles, thighs, buttocks, and spine, shoulders, chest, and spine
Improves coordination and sense of balance
Helps relieve stress
Half-Moon also improves digestion.
Don’t look upwards if you have any neck problems.
Headache or migraine
Low blood pressure
Performing the Asana
Perform Triangle to the right side, with your left hand resting on the left hip. Inhale, bend your right knee, and slide your left foot about 6 to 12 inches forward along the floor. At the same time, reach your right hand forward, beyond the little-toe side of the right foot, at least 12 inches.
Exhale, press your right hand and right heel firmly into the floor, and straighten your right leg, simultaneously lifting the left leg parallel (or a little above parallel) to the floor. Extend actively through the left heel to keep the raised leg strong. Be careful not to lock (and so hyperextend) the standing knee: make sure the kneecap is aligned straight forward and isn’t turned inward.
Rotate your upper torso to the left, but keep the left hip moving slightly forward. Most beginners should keep the left hand on the left hip and the head in a neutral position, gazing forward.
Bear the body’s weight mostly on the standing leg. Press the lower hand lightly to the floor, using it to intelligently regulate your balance. Lift the inner ankle of the standing foot strongly upward, as if drawing energy from the floor into the standing groin. Press the sacrum and scapulas firmly against the back torso, and lengthen the coccyx toward the raised heel.
Stay in this position for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Then lower the raised leg to the floor with an exhalation, and return to Trikonasana. Then perform the pose to the left for the same length of time.
Modify Your Practice
Balance is always tricky in this pose for beginners. A wall is a useful prop, which you can use in one of two ways. Stand with your back to the wall, one leg’s length away from the wall. Exhale and bend forward into a standing forward bend, then inhale and raise your left leg parallel to the floor and press the left sole against the wall. Start with your toes turned toward the floor. Exhale again and rotate your torso to the left; at the same time, turn the left leg and foot until the inner foot is parallel to the floor. Rest your left hand on the left hip. The pressure of the raised heel against the wall will help you maintain your balance. You can also perform the pose with your back to, and leaning against, the wall.
Gaze forward and keep the higher arm at the side instead of lifting it for an easier variation.
Advanced students should raise the higher arm at 90 degrees perpendicular to the body, pulling the scapula in towards the back, and raise their gaze to the fingertips.
To increase the challenge of this pose, raise the lower hand away from the floor and rest it on the standing thigh. Balance solely on the standing leg for 15 to 30 seconds.
Complimentary Yoga Poses
Baddha Konasana - Bound Angle Posture
Prasarita Padottanasana - Standing Wide Angle Stretch
Supta Virasana - Reclininng Hero Pose
Supta Baddha Konasana - Reclining Bound Angle Posture
Supta Padangusthasana - Reclining Big Toe Stretch
Uttanasana - Standing Forward Bend
Utthita Parsvakonasana - Extended Side Angle Stretch
Trikonasana - Triangle
Virasana - Hero Pose
Vrksasana - Tree Balance
Tips for Beginners
Many beginning students have difficulty touching the floor with their lower hand, even when resting it on the fingertips. These students should support their hand on a block. Start with the block at its highest height and, if your balance is steady and comfortable, lower it down first to its middle height, then finally if possible to its lowest height.
Deepen the Pose
Advanced students can raise the top arm, with an inhalation, perpendicular to the floor. Firm the top scapula against the back. Imagine there’s a wall in front of you, and press the top hand actively into this pretend wall. Then, if your balance is steady, try slowly rotating the head to gaze up at the raised hand.
A partner can play the role of a “living wall.” Have him stand behind you as you perform the pose (on the right side). He should angle himself to face slightly toward your head, with his left hip toward your buttocks. Have him brace your outer right buttock with his left hip, and reach across with his left hand to support your left hip. Make sure he doesn’t pull this hip up toward the ceiling; let it release toward the floor as you rotate your upper torso to the right. He can also use his right hand to help lengthen your right (underside) ribs.