Ardhachandrasana, also often called the half-moon pose, is a yogic posture practised among our people since time immemorial. Practising this posture regularly over some time is said to (and indeed does) have several positive effects on our body and mind.
The Ardhachandrasana or the Half Moon Pose
We shall talk about one particular yogic posture today – the Ardhachandrasana, or as often called the Half-Moon Pose. The moon holds a position of great significance symbolically in Yogic mythology – it, along with the sun, is often used to represent the two opposite bipolar energies (or life-forces) encapsulated within humans – often mystically referred to as the solar and lunar energies. Hence this Yogic posture is of great significance within the Yogic texts.
This posture, or asana, greatly enhances the strength of the ankles and improves our balance and stability, since the pose involves a relatively complex pose on a single foot. This posture is greatly beneficial to our body: indeed, it is safe to say that it is one of the most important and beneficial yogic poses known to mankind. It is a pose with great positive effects and assists in reducing excessive fat in the waist region, stimulates the sides of the body and provides laterally stretches the spine and enhances the functions of the liver. Quite a few benefits for a single posture, wouldn’t you agree?
Now that we have a basic idea about the posture itself and all its advantages, let us now try and see how we can execute this powerful pose correctly.
Procedure of Ardhachandrasana
1) We may start by standing in the Utthita Trikonasana (to the right), and resting our left arm on our left hip. We then inhale and simultaneously bend our knee to allow our left foot to slide forward by around 6 to 12 inches. Also at the same time we extend our right hand ahead of us beyond our left foot by a minimum distance of 12 inches.
2) We then proceed to exhale, pressing our right hand and heel tenaciously tightly against the floor and simultaneously straightening our right leg, lifting the left leg such that it is parallel to the floor. We then stretch through the left heel to stabilize the raised leg. We must be cautious not to over-extend the standing knee such that it disallows any motion: we must ensure that the kneecap is kept straight forward and isn’t bending towards the inside.
3) After the aforementioned steps, we rotate our upper body to the left, while keeping our pelvic region moving gently ahead.
4) We must then shift the major fraction of our body weight onto our standing leg. To stabilize ourselves in the posture attained, we may press our left hand gently on the floor. We proceed to strongly lift our inner ankle and place it in the space between our thighs. We press the sacrum and scapulas firmly against the rear upper body, and linearly stretch the tailbone towards the raised heel.
5) We may ideally retain this position for 30 seconds to 1 minute, after which we lower the raised leg to the floor accompanied by an exhalation, and revert to the Trikonasana posture. We then perform the same posture to the left for the same period.
We may repeat this posture three to four times: we must, however, exercise caution and not overdo it as it may cause harm.
Thus this is how we may exercise the ardhachandrasana posture. Preferably this posture may be done on a yoga mat.
Benefits and Therapeutic Applications
The benefits of the ardhachandrasan posture are many, which include but are certainly not limited to :
1) Enhanced ankle, thigh, abdomen, buttocks, and spine strength.
2) A good stretching of the hamstrings and calves, chest region, shoulders, spine and the groin area.
3) Improved coordination and balancing abilities.
4) Assists in alleviating stress.
5) Enhances the digestive functions of the body.
The pose is extremely potent in counteracting medical conditions such as anxiety, backache, low bone density, sciatica, tiredness, inadequate bowel movement, gastritis, indigestion, and excessive menstrual pain.
Contraindications of Ardhachandrasana
People with the following medical conditions are advised not to practice this pose to avoid any adverse negative effects.
• Headache or migraine
• Low blood pressure
Additionally, individuals suffering from neck issues must not turn their heads in a fashion to look upwards; rather they must carry on with looking straight ahead and keeping either side of the neck equal in length.
Modifications of Ardhachandrasana
The balance involved in this posture often poses a challenge to beginners. In such cases, a wall may be purposed as a supporting structure. This may be done in either of two ways: the first one involves standing such that one back faces the wall, with a distance of approximately one leg between the person and the wall. The person may then release his/her breath and reach ahead to produce a standing forward bend. Thereafter he/she may breathe in and raise his/her left leg parallel to the floor and press the left sole against the wall. Commencing with their toes turned in the direction of the floor, he/she must exhale again and turn his/her upper body towards the left; simultaneously turning the left leg and foot until the inner foot becomes parallel to the floor. He/she must then rest their left hand on the left hip. The raised heel pressed against the wall will assist them in maintaining stability. This posture may also be executed with one’s back to and leaning against, the wall. With regular practice, the need for external support will soon vanish.
Conclusion of Ardhachandrasana
The positive impacts of the ardhachandrasana posture are many – indeed, we may undeniably accept that this posture holds a very important place among the various postures in Yoga. Such gracefulness, such balance is rarely observed, if ever so. And the benefits of this pose towards physical and mental health are countless. Hence we may conclude here acknowledging that the yogic posture, needless to say, is a fruit of an ancient civilization gifted unto us – we must attempt to practice it and reap the many benefits it offers, and make a step towards a healthier body and a healthier mind through the path of Yoga.
Read our article on Dhanurasana or The Bow Pose.
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