(Half-Moon Pose) – Alignment, Benefits and Cautions
Ardha Chandrasana is also known as Half-Moon Pose. It is practiced during the Chandra Namaskar or Moon Salutation. On the physical level, Ardha Chandrasana helps to adjust the spinal posture, release a hunched back or kyphosis (perfect for office workers) and tone the nervous system. According to traditional hatha yoga, Ardha Chandrasana increases the moon (female) energy in the body. According to Ayurveda, the Half-Moon Pose also increases Kapha (earth) which leads to more stability, calmness and grounding.
How to do Ardha Chandrasana (Half-Moon Pose) – Step-by-Step Instructions
- Begin in Ashwa Sanchalanasana (Horse-Riding Pose) with your right leg back
- Find the balance between the front and back leg and lift the hands onto your hips
- Once you have a stable position, raise your arms up
- Keep the palms facing each other
- With your next inhalation arch back from your thoracic spine
- Slightly tilt your head back and look towards the ceiling
- By arching back, you are creating the Half-Moon shape from your foot to fingers (hence the same)
- You can bend back as far as comfortable
- Mind your own safety and be cautious not to arch too much in case of back injuries/pain
- Hold a few breaths here and then slowly come back
- Counter-Pose in Balasana (Child Pose) and repeat the pose with the left leg back
Benefits of Ardha Chandrasana (Half-Moon Pose):
- Stretches the entire skeletal structure
- Gives a good stretch to the shoulders, neck, back and chest
- Reduces kyphosis
- Promotes a healthy spine and nervous system
- Reduces anxiety
- Opens the heart chakra
- Increases the female energy
- Increases Kapha
- Useful when trying to conceive
- Increases estrogen
Contra-indications of Ardha Chandrasana (Half-Moon Pose):
This asana should not be practiced by people who are suffering from back injuries, slipped disc or severe back pain. It is also not suitable for people with arthritis or knee injuries. Ardha Chandrasana should be avoided by pregnant women due to the intense stretch of the pelvis and overstretching of the uterus.
Preparations for your asana practice:
It’s always very recommended to do a 10-minute warm-up (Pawanmuktasana) prior to starting your asana practice. Why? Because it helps your body to prepare smoothly, avoid cartilage depletion, increase flexibility and remove subtle energy blockage. Most of the modern yoga styles nowadays skip this important part. Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation) does NOT count as a warm-up.
Make sure to cover all major joints and muscles and include simple rotations and movements of your toes, ankles, knees, hips, shoulders, wrists and neck. As you are working on the back, shoulders, pelvis and hips during Ardha Chandrasana, make sure to include preparatory poses and warm-up techniques that focus on these areas especially.