Half moon pose, also known as Ardha Chandrasana, is a fantastic way to work your gluteus medius and gluteus minimus. These two lesser-known gluteal muscles are responsible for creating stability in your hip. When these stabilizers engage, your hips move better and any movement from the hip feels smoother and easier.
If your stabilizers don’t engage, there are some noticeable physical repercussions. First, you may feel like you’re sort of sinking down to the tops of your femurs. Second, when your stabilizers don’t work, your ability to balance on one leg greatly decreases. Finally, movement from the hips feels more challenging when the stabilizers don’t do their job.
Take a moment now before practicing Half moon pose to check that your stabilizers are working. Come in to Tadasana. Feel how, as your feet press down into the ground, energy starts moving up through your legs.
When you get to your hips, notice how it feels like your pelvis is lifting away from the heads of your femurs. There is a distinct upward lift. That lift is your stabilizers engaging. Now, you’re ready to practice Half moon pose.
Half Moon Pose
I like to use yoga blocks when I practice Half moon pose. I use the blocks as a means of support and as an extension of my arms to help me reach the floor. They’re not essential, but I do find them to be particularly helpful.
- Use ujjayi breathing.
- Begin in Tadasana, holding a block in each hand if you’ve decided to use blocks.
- Take a nice, deep inhale to create length in your spine.
- Exhale and come in to Warrior 3. As you hinge forward at the waist, allow your right leg to lift behind you. Make sure to scissor your inner thighs and keep the muscular energy in the back leg as your grounded leg actively pushes the floor away. If you’re using blocks, make sure to set your blocks on the ground directly underneath or slightly forward of your shoulders.
- Push the floor away with the left leg as you let your right hand move up to your hip and rotate your pelvis open. Keep pushing the floor away as you work to rotate your pelvis so that your hips are stacked on top of each other.
- Now, try to rotate your chest open so that your shoulders are stacked on top of each other.
- Soften your upper back and try to let your heart melt forward.
- Make sure that your head is in proper alignment and not jutting forward.
- Reach your right arm straight toward the ceiling. This should make your arms run in a straight line through your body. Whether your left hand is on a block or the fingertips are reaching toward or touching the ground, it should be a straight line of energy through your fingertips.
- Hold and breathe 5-8 breaths. As you hold, remember to “align and refine.” Feel your body make small, necessary adjustments to help you stay in this pose.
- When you are finished, lower your right arm, square off your hips, and place your right foot on the floor beside your left foot.
- Follow steps 2-11 for the other side.
Half Moon Pose with the Wall
My absolute favorite way to practice Half moon pose is with a wall. You want to have a wall that has a decent amount of open space so that you have enough room to both reach a leg behind you and reach an arm toward the ceiling.
To practice with the wall, grab your blocks (if you use them) and get set up about three inches away from the wall. You want to allow enough space for your pelvis to rotate but be close enough so that you can press your bottom and the backs of your heel, head, and hand into the wall. Feel how the support of the wall helps you access new muscles to find ease in this challenging pose.
Half Moon Pose Video
Here is a video for visual learners.
What is your favorite way to activate your hip stabilizers? Is it Half moon pose? Let us know in the comments below.
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