Half Moon Pose is a one-legged standing balance that’s particularly challenging due to the twist of the torso. As far as yoga balances go, Ardha Chandrasana requires plenty of coordination to be performed effectively.
“To be perfectly honest, this pose seemed impossible when I was new to yoga,” says Yoga Answered contributor Cat Harvey. “But it’s true what they say – practice makes perfect, and practicing this pose, in particular, made me appreciate the challenges we face during yoga that much more.”
Half Moon Pose Quick Look
Sanskrit Name: Ardha Chandrasana
Pose Type: Balancing Yoga Poses, Standing Yoga Poses
Difficulty Level: Intermediate pose
Targets: Ankles, hips, legs, and core
Benefits: Like any other one-legged standing balance, Half Moon is great for strengthening the muscles and ligaments of the standing leg. When you practice this pose regularly, you can better control your ankles, legs, and hips. This asana also improves your sense of spatial awareness, coordination, and balance. The twisting motion improves mobility in the hips, opening the chest, and broadening the space between the collarbones and shoulder blades. Keeping the body parallel to the ground is also an effective workout for the core, especially the oblique muscles.
Preparatory Poses: Warrior III pose, Triangle pose, Extended Side Angle pose
How to Do Half Moon Pose Step-By-Step
- From the standing position, soften your right knee and shift your weight into the right foot. Make sure the foot is firmly planted into the ground.
- Start tilting your torso forward, allowing the left leg to float off the ground. Keep lowering the chest and lifting your back leg until both are parallel to the floor.
- Reach down and plant the fingertips of your right hand on the ground. Place your left hand on your hip and begin to rotate your chest and hips to the left.
- Align your left shoulder directly above your right, then extend your left arm towards the sky. Your arms should be in line with one another.
- With your hips stacked above the standing leg, flex your left ankle.
- Very carefully lift your gaze to trace the direction of the top arm and focus on your balance. Stay here for 3-5 slow breaths, then return into standing. Repeat on the other side.
This pose firmly belongs in the Intermediate category. However, everyone must start somewhere! If you are trying to master Half Moon Pose, start by working on Triangle Pose and Warrior III pose. The former will help you practice the twist and the arm alignment. The latter will improve your balance and condition your torso and leg to stay level with each other. Once you feel confident and in control with those two asanas, you can move on to a modified version of Half Moon Pose. For example, you can rest the bottom hand on a block for extra support. You can also gain confidence by practicing Half Moon with your back against the wall, which should allow you to get stronger and more balanced without the fear of falling. To start with, you can keep your neck in the neutral position, with your gaze focused on a tangible object.