Half Moon Pose
Ardha Chandrasana, also known as Half Moon Pose, provides a unique challenge right at the start of the Hot 26 practice. Each time we begin our practice, we literally have the opportunity to grow into this challenging posture, lengthening our spine as we bend laterally. The space for growth and change in this posture is always expanding, and I have found that a small adjustment or shift in thinking can take Half Moon to a new level of depth and understanding, even for experienced practitioners.
Over the last month, I’ve chosen to share a new Pro Tip each week on the evolation yoga social media channels to help you improve and deepen your Half Moon side bend practice. Each tip speaks to a common issue I have seen students experience in Half Moon Side Bend, and offers a way to improve alignment to address that issue.
Tip 1: Keep it lateral!
“Chest up, chin up, arms back, upper body back”: these are all instructions that you hear in class to provide corrections and adjustments while in Half Moon pose. However, you must be careful in this posture to not over correct or exaggerate, turning this posture into a backbend. Half Moon side bend is a lateral flexion of the spine. Which means your spine is bending side to side, not backward or forward. While you are working on opening the front side of your body, think about keeping the back of your body tall and long. Everything should be equal distance to the mirror you are smiling in.
Tip 2: Use your hands!
If you find it hard to get your arms straight and extended, work really hard on pressing your palms together. The different parts of your palms are connected to different strains of muscles in your arms. The more you work your hands, the more you activate and fire up all the different muscles of your arms, even while your arms are bent. Over time, this will help you to make your arms more straight.
Tip 3: Neck Alignment is Key!
You hear the words “chin up, see your whole throat in the mirror” a lot in class. Many times, student will over correct based on this direction, and the head will start going back. To avoid crunching in your neck, keep your neck long by bringing your chin slightly back in to your throat. You can also try thinking of lengthening the crown of your head up to the ceiling.
Tip 4: It’s all in the feet!
You are probably used to hearing: ‘bring your feet together, toes and heels touching each other’. Many people wonder why this often seems impossible or painful. The answer has to do with body mechanics and proportions. Our feet are not rectangles, rather triangle shaped, with the front of our feet being wider than the heels. The only way most people can make both toes and heels touch is by sickling at the ankles; jamming ankle bones into each other; bowing knees out; or externally rotating the hips. Allowing a slight space (distance depends per person) between the heels solves this issue for many.
Yoga Education with Evolation Yoga
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By Zefea Samson