November’s pose of the month is Half Moon Pose (Ardha Chandrasana). Not to be confused with Crescent Moon Pose (Anjaneyasana) which is a low lunge backbend or Indudalasana which is a simple standing side stretch. Half Moon Pose (Ardha Chandrasana) is a standing balance posture.
We’ve done this pose a few times in our adult classes in the last couple of weeks and it’s been fun. It’s a great pose to keep you grounded, increase bone density, ankle strength and increase your balance. As with all balance poses, don’t take yourself too seriously and keep that inward smile. The pose is best entered from Triangle Pose (Trikonasana) by extending the back leg up and parallel to the ground and bearing the majority of your weight in your straight front leg, only using your front hand for regulating your balance. Beginners will find it easier to keep the uppermost hand on their hips and their gaze to the floor using a focal point (drishti) to aid their balance. The key points to remember to keep yourself safe in this pose are:
Make sure the kneecap of the standing leg is aligned forward and in-line with your toes.
As with all standing poses, don’t hyperextend (or lock) your standing knee. Keep a microbend here.
Extend actively through the heel of your raised leg to engage the muscles of this leg.
Lift the inner ankle of the standing foot, this will help with your balance and keep the ankle joint safe.
Lengthen your tailbone towards the lifted heel, and press your shoulder blades down your back. This will help lengthen your spine and create space in your torso.
Above all, have some fun with this pose.This is a great pose to challenge the kids with. Young children may struggle as their balance is still developing, just make sure you are behind them to support them in case they fall.There are also a number of variations to try, such as a Revolved Half Moon Pose which combines balance with a cleansing twist for the upper torso (use the opposite hand on the ground). Or if you’re super keen, try Bound Half Moon Pose (WARNING- not for the faint hearted, and don’t break your nose!). As with any yoga pose, please listen to your body and do not hold the pose if you’re finding it stressful to any joints or painful in any way.
This pose is obviously contraindicated for anyone with serious knee or ankle injuries, anyone with low blood pressure or headaches and migraines.