Most poses I document through my visual yoga blog are mellower versions of conventional asanas, and this might lead some to think that I’m a bonafide yoga slacker.
And I can proudly say that am. But my yogic pendulum also swings the other way. I am capable of intensifying standard yoga poses, and today we have just that.
Half Moon pose (ardha chandrasana) is pretty standard fare in most styles of yoga; Half Moon on Steroids takes it to the next limit of balance and flexibility.
Here we go:
1. Start in a sideways lunge: right foot forward, right forearm resting on the the right thigh.
2. Wrap your left arm around your waist and slip your fingers to your inner right thigh. If your left hand can’t go as far as your right thigh, you probably shouldn’t go any further with this pose. Stay for two long breaths.
3. Shift the weight of your body forward and raise your left leg. Keep the hip joint open: for this, it helps to roll your left foot outward, as pictured. Keep your left leg straight and actively lifted. Stay for another two long breaths.
4. Bend your left knee, taking the left foot toward the right as pictured.
5. Lift your right hand off the floor and grab your left ankle. Stay for five long breaths. Repeat on the other side.
Here’s another view from the second side to clarify the position of the hands.
Benefits: Fantastic hip joint and hamstring stretch. Enhances balance and cross-body synchronization. Shows off what a yoga stud/studette you are. In case anyone cares.
Avoid if: Your balance is too wobbly to keep you in place. You can practice next to a wall to hold you if you lose your balance. Also, if your range of motion in the hip and waist and arms are such that the set-up in the second step above isn’t doable, then there’s no point in going further. Stick with the conventional Half Moon pose, maybe even against a wall.
Final thoughts: The balance on this pose is pretty demanding, but once you get that down you can graduate to doing this pose on sand… on a boat… in a windstorm… whatever it takes. Though at some point your brain will say, “You know, I have better things to do than balancing in weirder and weirder ways.”