How To Do Half-Moon Pose: Benefits, Form Tips & Modifications

mindbodygreen Editorial Assistant By Sarah Regan
mindbodygreen Editorial Assistant

Sarah Regan is a writer, registered yoga instructor, and Editorial Assistant at mindbodygreen. She received her bachelor's in broadcasting and mass communication from SUNY Oswego, and lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Try This Mind- & Body-Releasing Yoga Pose

If you're looking to work your strength, balance, and flexibility, one great yoga pose to incorporate into your next flow is half-moon, ardha chandrasana. This challenging posture certainly requires some patience, but the good news is it's simple to modify, as your body learns to open up into the full posture.

In honor of tonight's full moon, this move will help you expand and release—two major cosmic themes during the celestial phenomenon. It's a great way to let the hard work of your yoga practice come to fruition.

Here's how to properly do half-moon, as demonstrated by certified yoga instructor Claire Grieve.

How to do half-moon pose, ardha chandrasana:

  1. Begin from warrior 3. (Shift your weight into the right foot and begin to lean the upper body forward and extend the left leg back, until your body is parallel with the floor. Hands can come to heart center or extend out in front of you so your arms and back leg form one straight line.)
  2. When you've found stability in your warrior, place your right fingertips on the floor (or a block) a few inches in front of your right foot. Both legs are active and straight, the back foot pointing or flexing.
  3. Begin to open up your hips, torso, chest, and shoulders to the side, keeping your spine aligned.
  4. Reach your left arm up to the sky, and gaze up toward your left fingertips.
  5. Breathe here, focusing on opening up the front side of the body and stacking hips and shoulders.
  6. Slowly release by returning to warrior 3, then coming up to stand. Repeat on the opposite side.

Tips and modifications:

  • If you can't reach the floor without a block, experiment with using the block on all three heights until you find one that works for you.
  • If you're working on balancing before opening up, bring the left hand to the left hip and gaze to the side rather than up.
  • Try doing half-moon up against a wall to work on opening up to the side.
  • Working other standing postures such as tree, warrior poses, and triangle can help you strengthen your standing leg, as well as your balance.

What are the benefits?

"This is a powerful energizing pose that requires great balance and focus," Grieve previously told mbg. "Practicing this pose will help you build a fiery but calm energy that can help you deal with life's challenges."

And not only that, but it has great physical benefits, including strengthening all those lower-body joints like your ankles, knees, and hips, plus your quadriceps and glutes. The gentle opening motion can also help improve digestion and circulation.

It's not a pose that necessarily comes easy, but it's so great for both your body and mind. With practice and patience, you'll see progress in your half-moon in no time.

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