Half Moon Pose
Rooting down to shine out (like the moon) I have suffered with chronic lower back issues, and Ardha Chandrasana has always been one of my favourite poses – there is a feeling of relief in the lower back as the connective tissue in the lumbar lengthens away from the pull of the gluteals. I find it improves the stability of my lower back, but if the pose isn’t aligned then the lower back can be compressed as the pose moves into a backbend. We need to use the core and the gluteals to support us in this challenging balance posture and this preparatory sequence will help. As you move through the sequence, notice your thoughts. Notice what bubbles up.
Often when we balance, especially if it is challenging, judgement will arrive that can be negative or critical. So observe your thoughts and then come back to the breath.
- Strengthens the abdomen, ankles, thighs, buttocks and spine.
- Stretches the groins, hamstrings and calves, shoulders, chest, and spine.
- Improves coordination and sense of balance.
- Helps relieve stress.
- Improves digestion.
- Headache or migraine.
- Low blood pressure.
Focus on keeping both sides of the neck long, and gaze straight ahead. If you have any problems with your neck then don’t turn your head to look up. Beginners should use modification until they have sufficient strength to support the correct alignment.
HOW TO PERFORM
Come onto all fours, with shoulders over your wrists and knees under your hips. If this doesn’t feel comfortable for your knees, put a blanket under your knees and shins. Check that you are not collapsing down into your lower back: draw the belly in and up, as if trying to squeeze into a tight pair of trousers. Extend your right leg back and bring the inner part of your right foot down to the mat. You will feel the right hip opening to the right. You might need to angle your left shin by taking the left foot out to the left to provide more stability. Start to float your right arm upwards and press through your right heel as you lift the right leg away from the floor. You can keep the gaze at the floor or start to bring your gaze up to the sky. Open the chest and then bring your awareness to the core: did you forget about it? As you draw the belly in and up and soften your ribs towards your hipbones, you will feel the core engage. Draw the tailbone into the body and then lengthen your right heel away from the crown of your head. Take 5-8 breaths, keeping the breath smooth and even. Release the leg back to the floor, bring the hand back down and then bend the knee and come back onto all fours. You may rest in Child’s pose between sides.
Knee pain or injury.