Pose of the Week – Ardha Chandrasana

Ardha Chandrasana, or half-moon pose, is a challenging pose for me and that’s why I have chosen it for this week’s pose of the week.  You can see how to do the pose on Yoga Journal.

What makes Ardha Chandrasana so difficult for me is turning my body and looking upward.  It’s that change in head position that causes me to lose my balance.  I can get into the pose pretty easily, as thankfully, I’m flexible enough to reach the floor.  That helps with my initial balance, but when I change my driste, all bets are off.

The Yoga Journal article suggests entering Ardha Chandrasana from Utthita Trikonasana, which I feel would flow well and make it easier to enter the pose.  In some classes we have done that, but generally, it seems we just go for half-moon on its own.  One of the instructors I take from seems to like floating half-moon, which is even more challenging because you don’t have the benefit of using your hand for balance.  I’m not really a fan of that variation!

Yoga teachers often want to use props to help students with half-moon.  The most typical prop is to use a block for the hand that reaches towards the floor, and that makes sense for people who struggle with this portion of the pose.  Personally, the block isn’t super useful for me, as I have the flexibility to reach the floor.

The best prop for learning Ardha Chandrasana is a wall or mirror to press your body against.  This not only helps with the general balance in the pose, it also helps change the gaze, which is where I struggle.  Pressing against the wall helps your alignment, as well, allowing you to fully rotate your body into the correct position without fear of falling.

The biggest benefit of perfecting this pose, in my opinion, is that it definitely increases your ankle strength and stability.  That’s one area that I struggle with and it is the limiting factor for me on all balance poses.  Forcing myself to balance on one leg with minimal involvement from my arm is beneficial to my overall practice, not just this pose.  It’s also helpful for stress (although not necessarily when I’m already struggling with poor balance) and digestion, two areas of interest for me.


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