HALF MOON POSE
The moon has a rich symbolic significance in yoga mythology. In hatha yoga, for example, the sun and the moon represent the two polar energies of the human body. In fact, the word hatha itself is often divided into its two constituent syllables, "ha" and "tha", which are then esoterically interpreted as signifying the solar and lunar energies respectively.
Step by Step
Contraindications and Cautions
If you have any neck problems, don't turn your head to look upward; continue looking straight ahead and keep both sides of the neck evenly long.
Many beginning students have difficulty touching the floor with their lower hand, even when resting it on the fingertips. These students should support their hand on a block. Start with the block at its highest height and, if your balance is steady and comfortable, lower it down first to its middle height, then finally if possible to its lowest height.
To increase the challenge of this pose, raise the lower hand away from the floor and rest it on the standing thigh. Balance solely on the standing leg for 15 to 30 seconds.
Modifications and Props
Balance is always tricky in this pose for beginners. A wall is a useful prop, which you can use in one of two ways. Stand with your back to the wall, one leg's length away from the wall. Exhale and bend forward into a standing forward bend, then inhale and raise your left leg parallel to the floor and press the left sole against the wall. Start with your toes turned toward the floor. Exhale again and rotate your torso to the left; at the same time, turn the left leg and foot until the inner foot is parallel to the floor. Rest your left hand on the left hip. The pressure of the raised heel against the wall will help you maintain your balance. You can also perform the pose with your back to, and leaning against, the wall.
A partner can play the role of a "living wall." Have him stand behind you as you perform the pose (on the right side). He should angle himself to face slightly toward your head, with his left hip toward your buttocks. Have him brace your outer right buttock with his left hip, and reach across with his left hand to support your left hip. Make sure he doesn't pull this hip up toward the ceiling; let it release toward the floor as you rotate your upper torso to the right. He can also use his right hand to help lengthen your right (underside) ribs.
Ardha Chandrasana is usually sequenced somewhere in the middle of a standing pose series, usually after Extended Triangle Pose. There are no hard-and-fast rules about what should follow this pose, but you might try:
Deepen The Pose
Advanced students can raise the top arm, with an inhalation, perpendicular to the floor. Firm the top scapula against the back. Imagine there's a wall in front of you, and press the top hand actively into this pretend wall. Then, if your balance is steady, try slowly rotating the head to gaze up at the raised hand.