Half Moon Yoga Pose
The half moon pose is usually one of the starting poses in most forms of hot yoga. It loosens the spine while in the standing position and really gets the circulation flowing. When practicing bikram yoga the half moon pose is the second of the poses, and is referred to as Ardha Chandrasana.
This yoga pose is great for strengthening the abdomen and core muscles. It improves balance and coordination while strengthening the ankles and knees.
- Lie on the back with hands interlaced and index fingers meeting and pointing up over the head. Press the feet into the floor and reach the head, neck and fingers upwards while at the same time releasing the shoulders down and back.
- Exhale and press the right hip out to the side. This will arch your body towards the left. Reach up and over with the fingers and crown, maintaining level shoulders. Keep your legs and glutes engaged throughout the stretch.
- Breathe and hold position for 2 to 6 breaths.
- To release pose: inhale and press the feet downward while reaching back upwards to lengthen and straighten the body. Repeat on the other side.
A single hand can be kept on the external hip to increase balance. If this pose challenges your sense of balance this variation should be explored.
Other forms of yoga sometimes refer to a deeper stretching pose as the half moon pose. This variation involves touching the hands to the floor. When practicing any form of hot yoga, the stretch can be accomplished without the variation, which may cause excessive exertion in the heated space.