Ardha Chandrasana (pronounced are-dah chan-DRAHS-anna), also known commonly as Half Moon Pose, has many benefits. This pose strengthens the ankles, knees, hips, back, shoulders and neck. Half Moon Pose provides alternate stretching and contraction of the side body, while toning and strengthening the intercostal, lateral and dorsal muscles. Ardha Chandrasana also increases the flexibility of the spine. Holding this pose actually strengthens and tones every muscle in the central part of the body, especially in the abdomen. Half Moon Pose firms and trims the waistline, hips, abdomen, buttocks and thighs. Ardha Chandrasana regulates kidney function while stimulating digestion and helping to relieve constipation. Lastly, this pose improves overall circulation and respiration within the body.
While Half Moon Pose has many benefits, it should be avoided if one has recent or chronic injury or inflammation of the ankles, knees, hips or trunk section.
How to perform Half Moon Pose:
1. Stand in Mountain Pose. Press both feet strongly into the ground. Engage your glutes and thighs, while drawing your tailbone down towards the ground.
2. Extend through the body and the spine.
3. From prayer position, draw your hands up over your head and extend them long, bringing your palms together. Point fingertips to the ceiling.
4. Gently lean your torso to the right side. Reach your arms to the right, lengthen your entire body from your feet to your fingers.
5. Hold for five breaths. Return to center. Repeat on the left side.
Note: Half Moon Pose can be done with a block placed between your thighs to teach one how to keep a neutral pelvis, while engaging the legs.
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