We´re baaack! (insert my best Miss J impression)
Building on our last few weeks of poses, we head towards a standing balance pose which can feel wonderfully vast and calming – yep I said calming. Half Moon Pose (or Ardha Chandrasana in Sanskrit) demands a one-pointed focus of concentration which I feel can be really helpful if we feel a bit, well, ´all over the place´, so to speak. The steadiness that we create in our foundations are vital for the pose and our practice in setting ourselves up safely so we feel secure and able to open up and spread it all around. . . again, so to speak.
Tonight we´re facing a beautiful and bulbous Pisces moon (anyone else have trouble sleeping?) perhaps you´re into lunar energy exploration, if so, have a read about this super phenomenon! It felt appropriate to take a practice to honour this Harvest Moon event!
Many of the attributes of this posture take the foundations of Tree pose, Warrior 2 and Triangle pose. Plonk them all together and you have this treat of a pose. Hope you enjoy this and just a word before you begin – if balance is a struggle for you, try to remind yourself that it´s not something that is still or static. In balance, we´re moving around all the time, our body is constantly learning to adjust and place itself into place. So don´t give yourself a hard time eh?
Before you begin, start to tap into your breath. It´s really key in any practice and a useful way of monitoring when you´re getting all up in your head or tense in your body. Try your best to keep an even rhythm that feels spacious.
1) Move into Triangle pose on your right side, then take your left hand to your left hip. As you exhale, bend your right knee (so your legs are like Warrior 2). Then take your right fingertips forward about 6-12 inches and further to the right of your mat/floor. Press them down and pull them towards you. This hand will be one of your foundations. Then lift your left heel and start to “bunny hop”/drag/step your left foot closer to your right. Try to keep the feet in the same line as this will help to stack the hips once you launch yourself into the standing balance.
2) Get really familiar (over familiar!) with your right foot. On your next exhale, press more weight down into it so that you can begin to shift the weight into that leg. Make this right leg super strong, perhaps by pressing into the right foot you may feel a strength in your right leg enough to straighten it. Give a quick check that your right knee is directly aligned in the same direction as your right toes.
3) Start to let your upper torso rotate towards the left side of the room, as you would in Triangle pose. Head can look in any direction but I prefer a neutral gaze so I can feel both sides of my neck long.
4) Take your attention to your back leg and make it active- pressing through the ball of that left foot and spreading the toes. Give even more weight into your standing leg, so much so that your left leg becomes light and it can lift away from the floor. Take the left ankle up as high as feels good to you. Keep spreading the toes. They should be ideally pointing towards the left wall.
5) If you feel confident and steady, begin to slowly stretch your left arm up into the air and reach up with your fingers, opening up in every direction! Little check in: Notice if you´re crunching into your low back – your tailbone is reaching towards the same direction as the ball of your left foot.
6) Hold here, breathing for up to 10 breaths, then slowly lower your left foot to the floor and come back into Triangle pose. Swap sides!
If your hand doesn´t reach the floor, place a block or a book or something “grabby” underneath so you have something to press down on. This can help to steady your lift and balance. This is also another great pose to practice against a wall. It can help steady things. If a wall isn´t handy, try using a chair to rest your front forearm on. It´s a bit higher up and can be great whilst you´re building confidence with the posture.
- Strengthening ankles and thighs
- A great stretch for the hamstrings and an all round core strength building pose.
- Amongst other things, it´s great for anxiety, indigestion and fatigue.
- Also one of those that can bring relief during the time of the month – if you are up to practicing.
- You have stomach issues going on, low blood pressure or headaches.