The yoga pose of July is Ardha Chandrasana or Half Moon Pose.
Learn the basics:
Ardha Chandrasana is similar to Trikonasana (Triangle Pose). Half Moon offers the practitioner length and strength in all four limbs of the body. Once entered, the yogi’s heart is wide open, reflecting the bright and shining rays of the moon in the sky and both the arms and legs are in extension, reaching from the earth to the stars. This wide open shape encourages a feeling of freedom and power in the practitioner, as though they are stretching out across a great sky.
Ardha Chandrasana is a challenging standing balance, requiring both strength and focus to achieve: the standing leg must externally rotate at the hip so that the pelvis and torso open to face one side of the room, hips and ribs stacked on a vertical plane. The other leg is lifted and extended to the back of the room, while the arms intersect the body, one actively reaching upward as the other stretches down toward the mat or a block.
Other variations of Half Moon Pose include floating fingertips off of the mat to find Gyana mudra. Half Moon can be bound either with the arms between the legs or in Ardha Chandra Chapasana, Sugarcane Pose, in which the yogi grasps the lifted foot behind them to create a half bow. It can also be twisted (Parivritta Ardha Chandrasana).
Getting into the pose:
- Begin from Warrior II, right foot forward
- Stretch the torso forward, reaching with the right fingertips
- Plant the fingertips down 8-12” in front of the right foot
- Place the left hand on the left hip
- Straighten out the right leg and you float the left foot upward
- Left leg is in line with the height of the left hip, flexed foot
- Microbend the right knee to keep muscular engagement
- Stack the hips, left on top of right
- Roll the left shoulder open
- Gaze down in front of right foot
- Once stable, extend the left arm to the sky
- Take 10-15 breaths
- Engage the belly
- Lighten the weight in the right fingertips
- Gaze can move up to the left hand
- Release the pose and repeat on the left side
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