Expand Your Half Moon Pose with a Yoga Block

This entry was posted on Apr 2, 2015 by Charlotte Bell.

Half Moon Pose (Ardha Chandrasana) balances strong, active rooting with lightness and expansion. Ardha Chandrasana strengthens your legs and abdomen, while it stretches your hamstrings, calves and shoulders. It strengthens and lengthens the spine. It is therapeutic for stress, digestive issues, anxiety and fatigue. In addition, Half Moon Pose builds balance and stability.

If you look at the photo, it’s easy to see that Ardha Chandrasana’s most obvious characteristic is expansion. But for many people, it doesn’t feel that way. Depending on the mobility of your hip joints and the ratio between your arm and leg length, you may even feel contracted in Ardha Chandrasana. Even if you are bendy, using a yoga block in Half Moon Pose can promote the expansion that makes the pose feel as if you’re about ready to take flight. And that feels great.

If you’d like to read more about Half Moon Pose, here’s a more detailed description.

Practicing Half Moon Pose with a Block

  1. Stand on a yoga mat with your feet a leg-length apart. Turn your right leg out 90 degrees so that the center of your knee, thigh and ankle are aligned with each other. Turn your left leg and foot inward, allowing your pelvis to turn inward until you feel a solid rooting through your left foot.
  2. Move into Trikonasana (Triangle Pose). Take a few deep breaths.
  3. Place your left hand on your hip and shift your weight forward into your right leg. Place your right hand on a block about a foot in front of and a little to the outside of your right foot. Lift your left leg off the floor and extend it out from your pelvis. Slowly straighten your right knee, pressing your right foot down into the floor.
  4. If your balance is shaky, look at the floor and focus on grounding both your right leg and right hand.
  5. If and when you feel stable, turn your chest to face forward and extend your left arm to vertical.
  6. After five or ten breaths, begin to bend your right knee. Keeping your weight over the right leg, extend the left leg out behind you, continuing to lower your body down until your left foot comes to the floor.
  7. Return to Trikonasana for a breath or two, and on an inhalation, rise up to standing.
  8. If balance is difficult, try practicing Ardha Chandrasana with your back against a wall. When you eliminate the possibility of losing balance, it’s much easier to explore expanding.

To find out more ways to use a Yoga Block to enhance your asana practice, visit our Yoga Props Guide.

About Charlotte Bell
Charlotte Bell discovered yoga in 1982 and began teaching in 1986. Charlotte is the author of Mindful Yoga, Mindful Life: A Guide for Everyday Practice and Yoga for Meditators, both published by Rodmell Press. Her third book is titled Hip-Healthy Asana: The Yoga Practitioner’s Guide to Protecting the Hips and Avoiding SI Joint Pain (Shambhala Publications). She writes a monthly column for CATALYST Magazine and serves as editor for Yoga U Online. Charlotte is a founding board member for GreenTREE Yoga, a non-profit that brings yoga to underserved populations. A lifelong musician, Charlotte plays oboe and English horn in the Salt Lake Symphony and folk sextet Red Rock Rondo, whose DVD won two Emmy awards in 2010.