Ardha Chandrasana – Half Moon Pose
Ardha Chandrasana, or half moon pose, is probably my favourite balancing poses. It’s such a beautiful, visually appealing pose. But aside from that it’s a pose where I can easily find a perfect balance of sthira and sukham. In the yoga sutras, Patanjuli wrote that practicing yoga with strength AND ease brings harmony to the body. In half moon pose, you’re balancing on one foot, the hand from the same side of your body is resting on the floor. Your other hand is reaching for the sky and your other leg is floating behind you in line with or higher than your hip (think stacking your hips here, even though it may be not be accessible). When there is only sthira (or strength) in this pose, you will experience more of a clenching sensation throughout your body rather than that beautiful expression I spoke of earlier. If you practice with only sukham (or sweetness) you’re likely not engaging any muscles, you’re placing your standing leg hamstring in danger, your back leg is hanging limply in the air. This version may feel easier, but the energy in your body is not able to flow anywhere, you’re literally just hanging out in the pose. When you find the perfect balance, your standing leg hamstring is getting a nice stretch, but is protected because the quad is fully engaged. Your lifted leg is so strong that if there was a wall on that foot you could easily lift the hand that is resting on the floor, all-the-while it is lengthening and also getting a sweet stretch. Your core is strong to stabilize the entire pose, yet the crown of your head is working forward so that your entire spine lengthens and decompresses. Your lifted arm is reaching freely toward the sky, while your shoulder blade stays firmly rooted onto your back. When you find the strength of this pose, you look graceful, at ease, and spacious, yet you feel strong, stable, and steady. The oppositions, the visual aspect, and the overall feeling of this pose is why I LOVE ardha chandrasana!!