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An Exploration of Ardha Chandrasana

May 19, 2020

At this point I’m no longer wondering what the new normal is.  I’m getting used to life as it is at the moment.  While I have been stepping out every once in a while to buy vegetables and other essentials, I don’t think I ‘miss’ going out.  My cooking and cleaning routines are getting more streamlined and I’m finding a new balance. Having to use my home as an office, a workout arena, a movie theater, a study and the Friday evening hangout zone is now become easier for me.

I’ve also realized that I’m quite enjoying teaching from home.  I find that now all my energy goes into teaching my classes and not on battling traffic, or even getting ready.  Yes, I have taught many a class in my pajamas. I have more energy for my personal practice, and in the lat few weeks I’ve attended classes with teachers across the world, and this is having a positive impact on my own teaching.

I’ve also started giving my students ‘homework’ and it’s gratifying to teach yoga concepts in depth and have students turn those ideas in their minds later.  Maybe practicing online is suiting many students as well!  The other day we delved deeper into the Ardha Chandrasana or the Half Moon Posture.  Most frequently, students get so focused on finding their balance in the posture that they forget about all the other aspects of the asana, such as an open chest, a long neck, straight spine….

This variation works the best for most practitioners. The hips are open, the spine is parallel to the floor and the arms make one line. The chest is open, neck relaxed and gaze is towards the ceiling. If you find it hard to balance with the gaze on the ceiling then keep your gaze on the floor or in front of you.

 

When you are most stable on your legs then reduce the height of the block. When we do this there is a tendency to lose connection with the core, which leads to the raised leg becoming lazy and descending. Keep the raised leg long and push the heel out. Bend from the hip, not from the sides.

 

Here I’ve lowered the height even more. At this point the asana had started to become a little more challenging. It took a little effort to keep the raised leg in it’s position and to ensure that my body weight doesn’t lean entirely on my hand.

 

This is the classical Ardha Chandrasana. As you can see, it requires a significant extension of the sides. You should NOT practice this version until you have cultivated enough strength to keep the raised leg lifted and the chest open and strong.

 

If you’re a beginner….

If you’re a beginner to yoga and have just started your journey, this blog will show you step-by-step instructions about how to get into this posture.  You can also watch this video for tips on how to make your posture better:

You can order ‘Beyond Asanas’ here and learn more about the history and mythology of the Ardha chandrasana.

Beyond Asanas: The Asanas Books Lifestyle Yoga

Ardha Chadrasana: The Half Moon Pose

September 11, 2019

When I started writing Beyond Asanas, it was going to contain about 100 asanas.  After all, I was writing my magnum opus.  As the book took shape this number dwindled down to 30.

I chose asanas that I had been practicing for a few years.  Ones which I knew and understood.  There were, of course, the mundanities to consider.  Visual appeal, my ability to execute the posture well, would my research yield interesting information about it?

The Ardha Chandrasana made the cut.  I found a connection between this asana and the story of the near-destruction of the universe.  When Shiva swallowed the halahala to save the Universe, the poison turned his body blue.  Chandra stepped in to help.

Then there’s the story of why the moon waxes and wanes.  Lord Ganesha and his temper are responsible for the moon manifesting in its ‘ardha‘ or half stage.

The Ardha Chandrasana is Chapter 5 of my book.  To read the stories and the significance in more detail get your copy of the book.

Below are the step-by-step instructions, with images.

1. Start on the right with Trikonasana.

For more on Trikonasana see Chapter 4 in Beyond Asanas.

2.  Bend your right knee and reach forward with your right hand.  Place it on the floor diagonally opposite the right foot.

 

Note the extension on the right side of the torso as the outer edge of the left foot stays firmly on the ground.

 

The right arm and right foot must be diagonal to each other, else balancing is hard.

 

3.  Engage your right arm and leg, so that you can balance and support yourself on them.  Slowly lift the leg up until it is parallel to the floor or slightly above hip level.

 

The key to balance is your gaze. The steadier and more focused your gaze, the better your balance.

 

Behold! The final posture. The gaze swivels up to the left thumb.

4.  To come down, bring your left leg back to the floor in the same way you took it up.  You should end in the Trikonasana again.

5.  Repeat on the left side.

 

These beautiful images are done by Farhan Khan of @khan.clicks and David of @deavalin_david_dsouza.  The makeup is by Henna of @makeupbyhennaanbaree.

If you have any questions or queries, do leave a comment.

Get your own copy of ‘Beyond Asanas: The Myths and Legends Behind Yogic Postures’ here.