Ardha Chandrasana Benefits and Steps to do Half Moon Pose

April 16,2024
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Yoga is indeed a very fascinating discipline, as its core premise is that if a human body stays in a series of certain kinds of positions for an extended period of time, the practitioner could unlock a multitude of benefits for themselves. In fact, some of those positions, or Asanas also provide the practitioners of the positions the ability to combat stress, anxiety, depression and even pre or post-pubescent aggression. 

In the intricate tapestry of yoga, there exists a multitude of poses, each carrying its own essence of balance, strength, and serenity. Among them stands Ardha Chandrasana, a Sanskrit phrase that gracefully translates to “Half Moon Pose”.

In this article, we embark on a journey into the depths of this elegant posture, exploring the benefits of Ardha Chandrasana, unraveling a step-by-step guide on how to perform the Half Moon Yoga Pose, delving into the anatomy of Ardha Chandrasana, addressing important considerations regarding when not to perform the Half Moon pose, and finally, addressing common questions and doubts that may arise along the yogic journey.

What is Ardha Chandrasana a.k.a Half Moon Pose

Ardha Chandrasana also known as Half Moon Pose, is a pose which is supposed to connect the practitioner to the lunar as well as solar energies that surround us, which is why the position has been christened as such. Another reason behind the same is the fact that once the practitioner has performed all the steps to get into the main position, they begin to resemble the shape of a half moon peeking from the horizon.

The name itself, on the other hand, is of Sanskrit origin. It can be broken down into three parts, which are as follows:

Ardha: Half    Chandra: Moon  Asana: Pose

Interestingly, Half moon pose has several derivative positions and while Ardha Chandrasana is primarily known as a pose that is a part of the Hatha Yoga asana roster, similar positions which belong to other Yoga disciples have been discovered as well, confirming its seemingly long and rich history, most of which is mythological lore. As of right now, similar positions have been discovered in Iyengar Yoga’s roster as well as that of the bihar school of Yoga.

Fun fact: the pose in question has ties to the legends involving lord Shiva, who is shown wearing a crescent moon on the top of his head in his depictions as well as those of his son, lord Ganesha.

What Are The Benefits Of Ardha Chandrasana a.k.a Half Moon Pose

There are a multitude of benefits of making the Ardha Chandrasana also known as Half Moon Pose a permanent part of an individual’s yoga routine. Some of those are as follows:

  • Ardha Chandrasana Can Help You Tame The Demons In Your Head: Do you find yourself getting irritated or angered way too frequently than a normal person? If yes, maybe Ardha Chandrasana can do you some good. Studies have shown that Ardha Chandrasana is a great way to get pre or post pubescent aggression under control, which eventually opens doors for a better quality of life.
  • Ardha Chandrasana Can Make You Calmer: Do you always find yourself getting worried about all things big and small and more often than not in the middle of a panic attack? If yes, maybe you can benefit by doing the Ardha Chandrasana position often.

If done right, not only does this position connect the practitioner to the omnipresent lunar energies, it also controls the secretion of neurotransmitters in your brain. In simple terms, neurotransmitters are these chemicals running around in your brain that determine your mood. Out of them, two of the neurotransmitters, namely dopamine (Which is also known as the pleasure hormone) and cortisol (The stress hormone) get affected greatly by doing Ardha Chandrasana also known as Half Moon Pose.

  • Ardha Chandrasna Fixes Your Posture Problems: When the practitioner achieves full motion, one of the larger muscle groups that the student ends up engaging are the ones that are around the spinal cord. In addition to the same, the position also elongates your spinal cord, which could have significant posture benefits.
  • Ardha Chandrasana Makes You More Confident: Performing the Ardha Chandrasana has a direct mental health benefit as well. Since it helps with the secretion of dopamine and curbs the flow of cortisol in the body, the practitioner begins to cultivate a more positive self image of themself. This change, in turn, gets reflected in how they treat themselves and levels of assertiveness.
  • Ardha Chandrasana Strengthens Your Lower Body: one of the main places where the pressure is felt while performing the Ardha Chandrasna pose are the muscles that exist in the lower half of the body, especially the abductor (Outer thigh) muscles, hamstrings and the glutes (Your rear end). This pressure causes small micro-tears in the muscles, which can only be repaired with the help of a protein-rich diet. In turn, you will get a set of stronger legs and buns over time, which is crucial for those who live all kinds of lifestyles, because a weak lower body in the future can open the doors for all kinds of ailments.

Disclaimer: One must not consider any part of this article to be medical advice and instead conduct their own further research. Additionally, you should consult your general physician and/or yoga instructor before even attempting to get into this pose.

How To Do Ardha Chandrasana

Before reading further, keep in mind that the Ardha Chandrasana also known as Half Moon Pose is a challenging position and must be performed with utmost care and mindfulness. Additionally, since it is considered to be a relatively challenging pose as compared to the likes of Tadasana and Uttanasana, having prior intermediate-level Yoga experience is necessary.

If you tick that box or just want to find out about the execution process anyway, you will find the step-by-step guide below:

  • Ardha Chandrasana Step 1: Get into a standing position on a mat and then make sure that your entire body is facing in the direction of the one end of the same.
  • Ardha Chandrasana Step 2:  Take your left foot ahead until there is a distance of about four feet between it and the right one.
  • Ardha Chandrasana Step 3: Begin the act of balancing your body on your left foot while simultaneously shifting the weight of your torso on it by bending forward. At the same time, ensure that you are stretching your arms forward. Bend forward enough to be able to touch the ground with both your hands, which should be further apart than the distance between your feet and not in alignment with them. Simultaneously, raise your right leg in the opposite direction.
  • Ardha Chandrasana Step 4: Keep raising your right hand in an anticlockwise fashion until it points towards the skies.
  • Ardha Chandrasana Step 5: Bend your head in order to look towards the finger points of the sky-pointing hand.
  • Ardha Chandrasana Step 6: At this point, you have achieved full motion. Stay in this position for about 5-6 breaths or for as long as you are comfortable during the initial phases.
  • Ardha Chandrasana Step 7: Begin the process of retracting to your original position. Start with facing your head downwards. Then, rotate your right arm in a clockwise manner to touch the ground again. Next, bring your right leg down to the point at which it will maintain a 4-feet distance between the two feet. Finally, life your torso back up until you are back in your natural posture.
  • Ardha Chandrasana Step 8: Complete half a repetition by retracting your left leg back to its original position.

In order to do one whole repetition, repeat the above steps but by balancing on the opposite hand and using the opposite limb every step of the way.

When To Practice Ardha Chandrasana

Ideally, one should perform the Ardha Chandrasana position during the night time on an empty stomach and bowel for a total of 3-7 times on a daily basis for best results. It is also recommended that one must ensure that this position is not done in isolation as it requires a little bit of warm up, which can be done by performing some Tadasana, Uttanasana and the likes.

Ardha Chandrasana Contraindications

There are some circumstances under which one should definitely stay away or reconsider practicing the Ardha Chandrasana also known as Half Moon Pose. Those are as follows:

  • If you are under 8 years of age, you must certainly avoid Ardha Chandrasana.
  • If you have sustained knee or ligament injuries, you must stay away from performing this pose.
  • If you are pregnant, preferably refrain from the position. However, that can vary on a case-to-case basis, so you can consult your general physician and get an opinion before closing your doors on it.
  • If you suffer from high blood pressure or have any kind of condition involving your heart, definitely stay away from Ardha Chandrasana.
  • If you have a poor space of sense and body awareness, think twice before doing the Ardha Chandrasana pose or perhaps start with a variation which allows for bodily support.

Anatomy of Ardha Chandrasana a.k.a Half Moon Pose

Since the Ardha Chandrasana is a complex pose, it engages muscles of almost all shapes and sizes. Some of the main ones are as follows:

  • When you take one of your legs forward, you are instantly activating the one side of your gluteus muscle groups, a hamstring, a calf and an outer thigh. At this point, you are extending them.
  • When you slowly begin to transfer your body weight onto your dominant leg by bending and raising your arms simultaneously, you will begin to feel a stretching sensation in your arms and an opening sensation in your hips. Simultaneously, you will also extend your Latissimus (back) muscles and tendons attached to or around your spine. Speaking of which, during this phase, the practitioner will begin the process of elongating their spine as well.
  • When the hands of the practitioner finally touch the ground, the muscles of the upper body begin to come into play. At this point, all the major muscles in your upper body, such as your pectorals, abdominals, obliques, lower and upper back will begin to feel either a stretch or a contraction. Due to this effect, regular practitioners of the pose tend to notice a flattening of their stomachs as well as the widening of their chests over time.
  • While maintaining your position for as many breaths as you are comfortable with, you will begin to feel an amplification of all of your sensations, which gradually piles on. This is essentially where the main challenge is. The longer you are able to stay in that state, assuming that your form is perfect, the better you are getting that the Yoga asana. 

However, remember that if the pressure goes beyond the bearable point, you can retract to your original position immediately to avoid any kind of mishap.

Frequently Asked Questions About Ardha Chandrasana

Why Is It Called Ardha Chandrasana?

The two reasons why it is called the Ardha Chandrasana are the facts that it helps you connect with the omnipresent lunar energies and while performing this pose, the shape of the practitioner resembles that of a half moon which is peaking from a horizon. The term Ardha Chandrasana is in itself a Sanskrit term, which can be broken down into three parts, which are as follows:

Ardha: Half  Chandra: Moon  Asana: Pose

Hence the Ardha Chandrasana is also known as the “half Moon Pose”.

What Are The Techniques Of Ardha Chandrasana?

Some of the alternative techniques of performing the Ardha Chandrasana are as follows:

Half Moon pose on a chair: This variation allows the practitioner to rest their arms on the seat of a chair instead of letting them go all the way to the ground in a prescribed manner. This variation provides the student with some body balance.

Half moon pose while kneeling: This is a less challenging version of the Asana. In this variation, the student should kneel down on one knee and put their body weight onto that instead of the entire leg. This variation is done by those practitioners who prioritize their strength goals over the body balance ones.

Half moon pose with a block and body against a wall: As you must have guessed already, this variation allows the practitioner to stand in front of a wall and a brick in front of them in order to reduce the risk of falling or losing body balance.

Floating half moon pose: This is a more challenging version of Ardha Chandrasana as it requires the student to solely balance on their dominant leg. In this version, the one hand that stays on the ground in the original version is extended forward, which engages an additional set of arm arm muscles in the process.

Bound half moon pose: This Ardha Chandrasana variation has to be one of the most challenging ones to ever exist, as it sees the student hold their hands by passing it down from between their legs.

How Can One Get Better At Ardha Chandrasana?

One can get better at Ardha Chandrasana also known as Half Moon Pose with regular practice, revisiting the basics and trying new variations. A healthy diet is also necessary for a gradual increase in pose proficiency over time.

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