Peak Yoga Pose: A Sequence to Illuminate your Ardha Chandrasana

Nothing lights up the room better than a bright Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon Pose). Before embarking on this celestial journey, one should ask, how do you get the room to illuminate if the half-moon seems more like a shooting star? The answer is preparation. Preparation is key to making your Half Moon Pose shine brightly. Incorporate the following yoga asanas into your sequence for a shining and sturdy Half Moon Pose. 

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclining Big Toe Pose 2) 

male_yoga_student_practicing_revolved_supta_padangustahsana

Supta Padangusthasana 2 represents a reclined version of Ardha Chandrasana.

  1. Lie on your back with your legs straight and feet flexed. 

  2. Bend your right knee into your chest and firm your left thigh. 

  3. Place a strap around the ball of your foot and move your right heel toward the ceiling, working to straighten the right knee. You can hold the foot with your hands if you can do so without lifting your shoulders off the floor or rounding your back.

  4. Externally rotate your right leg by turning your right thigh to the right and extend your leg out to the side. Keep your left hip rather heavy, pressing it into the floor. 

  5. Stay here for 1 to 2 minutes and then bend your right knee. Lower your right leg to the floor and straighten it out along the mat. 

  6. Repeat on the left side.

Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose) With the Legs Externally Rotated

female_yoga_student_practicing_bridge_poseThese bridges reflect the actions of the standing leg in Ardha Chandrasana.

  1. From the reclined position, bend your knees and place your feet on the floor hip-width apart. 

  2. Turn your thighs out about 45 degrees so that they are externally rotated. 

  3. Press your feet down, squeeze your buttocks, and lift your hips. 

  4. Hold for about three breaths, then slowly lower down. Repeat this five times. 

Bharmanasana (Tabletop Pose) With an Ardha Chandrasana Leg

  1. Come into a Tabletop Pose with your shoulders over your wrists and your hips over your knees. 

  2. Reach the right leg back with the ball of the foot pressing into the floor.

  3. Rotate your torso to look toward the right, and simultaneously spin your inner right heel down to the floor so that the inner edge of your foot touches the floor. 

  4. Lift your right arm toward the ceiling creating a “t” position in the arms. 

  5. Stay here or lift your right leg away from the floor without rotating it. Lift until the leg is parallel to the floor at hip level.

  6. Keep the leg as Tadasana (Mountain Pose)-like as possible. Reach through the heel as you spread your arms apart. 

The body creates a nearly identical shape of Ardha Chandrasana closer to the floor. 

Tadasana (Mountain Pose)

male_yoga_student_practicing_tadasanaThe subtle actions in Tadasana translate into the aerial leg of Ardha Chandrasana. They also help you stabilize the connection between your feet and the ground before you balance on one foot.

  1. Stand on your mat with your feet together. 

  2. Balance your weight evenly between the balls of your feet and your heels by rocking forward and back until you perceive the center. 

  3. Firm the outer hips and energetically lift your inner thighs up toward your hips. 

Utthita Parsvakonasana (Extended Side-Angle Pose)

female_yoga_student_practicing_extended_side_angleUtthita Parsvakonasana prepares the body for Ardha Chandrasana, as it shares many familial characteristics with its older theoretical and postural sibling.

  1. From Tadasana, spread your feet as wide as your legs’ length. 

  2. Turn your left foot, shin, knee, thigh, and pelvis slightly inward and rotate your right leg out 90 degrees. 

  3. Bend your right knee to about a 90-degree angle. 

  4. Place your right forearm on your thigh or place your right hand on a block. 

  5. Reach your left arm straight up toward the ceiling. Pause here for a moment as the arms are very much like Ardha Chandrasana. 

  6. After the pause, continue to reach your left arm overhead to lengthen the entire left side of the body. 

  7. Press the right foot into the floor and mimic some of the gluteal action that you worked on in the Bridge Pose from earlier in the sequence. 

  8. Stay for a few breaths, then straighten the right leg, parallel your feet and repeat on the left side. 

Trikonasana (Triangle Pose)

female_yoga_student_practicing_triangle_poseTriangle Pose is very similar to the shape and work of Ardha Chandrasana.

  1. Start in the wide-legged stance from the previous pose. 

  2. Set up similarly, with the left leg turned in a bit and the right leg facing the right. 

  3. Keep your legs straight and extend your arms out to the sides at shoulder level as you bend laterally at the hips and come into Triangle Pose. 

  4. Maintain the external rotation of the right leg as the leg may turn inward. 

Notice what the body feels like in this spread-out position. Imagine your left foot a bit lighter. Does that impact the right leg? Does it work harder? 

Peak Pose: Ardha Chandrasana

  1. ardha chandrasana yoga poseBegin in a smaller version (feet closer together) of Utthita Parsvakonasana on the right side and with a block in your right hand. 

  2. Lean to the right, shift your weight onto your right leg, and place the block on the floor about a foot in front of your right foot. Use the power of your right hip muscles to maintain your center of balance. 

  3. Lift your left leg up as you did in the Tabletop Pose. 

  4. Maintain the Tadasana on the left side of your body and the external rotation of the right thigh. 

  5. Spread your arms away from each other in a “t” shape. 

  6. Hold here for 3 to 5 breaths and slowly reverse the action of coming into Ardha Chandrasana by keeping the weight centered over your right foot as you bend your right knee and gently place the left foot down. Then lift the block and torso upright.

  7. Pause for a few breaths, then try the left side. 

When you rest in between, feel your inner glow as you stand tall and expansive.

Ending your Practice

End your practice with a pose to counterbalance the radiant and extensive reach of Ardha Chandrasana with a grounding, compact pose like Balasana (Child’s Pose). Stay here for as long as you like before transitioning onto your back. Come into a spinal twist such as Jathara Parivartanasana (Revolved Belly Pose) on both sides and hold for about a minute on each side. Finally, absorb the effects of your practice in Savasana (Relaxation Pose) supported in any way you wish. 

Preparation is key for your peak pose sequencing—not just preparing but understanding why and how you are prepping for your peak pose. Such preparation and knowledge unlock the mysteries of the peak pose well before you reach it, enabling you to feel well connected to a position that may seem foreign. While you practice this sequence, explore the different parts and how they connect with your final destination. 

Dorothy Holtermann, Vagus Nerve, Genetic code, YogaU presenter, Wellness Course

Allison Schleck, writer, Yoga teacher, contributorAllison Jeraci, E-RYT 500, RPYT, YACEP, is a vinyasa-based yoga teacher, fascinated by the intricate relationship between the mind and body. She offers a range of alignment-focused classes touching on anatomy, philosophy, and creative propping with a mindful approach.  In addition to teaching group classes and managing the Yoga Culture studio in Danbury, CT, she also teaches at Open Door Family Medical Center in Westchester, NY, empowering mothers-to-be with prenatal yoga classes and childbirth education. You can find her @allisonschleck on Instagram and www.allisonrayjeraci.com.

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