Half Moon Pose (Ardha Chandrasana)

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Half Moon Pose Ardha Chandrasana, (are-dah chan-DRAHS-anna)

ardha (half) + chandra (moon or luminous) + asana (pose)

Also Known as: Half Moon Bow, Sugar Cane Pose 

Pose Type: Inversions, Strengthening, Balancing, Stretching

Difficulty: Intermediate

  • woman doing half moon pose
  • woman doing half moon pose from the back

Challenge your balance and prepare for liftoff in Half Moon Pose

Half Moon Pose Fundamentals

Half Moon Pose asks for you to channel energies from both the moon (cooling and calming), and the sun (intense and fiery).

Root down through the earth with your standing leg and stabilizing arm and rise up to the sky finding a lift with your raised leg and arm.

Half Moon Pose is a fantastic way of teasing out postural imbalances. You’ll notice how the Asana feels different on either side.

This pose teaches balance, but also patience and focus. It is easy to get distracted and lose balance. Come back to the breath and use it as an anchor to keep you stable in this pose. If you wobble and fall, come back into the pose non-judgementally.

Half Moon Pose Benefits

  • Improves balance and coordination by teaching you how to coordinate interdependent and opposing actions in the body.
  • Strengthens the legs and core.
  • Improves mental focus. A calm and still mind is needed to achieve balance in this pose.
an annotated image of a woman wearing black yoga clothes doing a half moon pose

How To Do Half Moon Pose: Step-By-Step

How To Get There:

1. Starting in mountain pose on your mat, spread your legs as wide as is comfortable and still allows you to keep your legs straight, arms in a T-position.

2. Next, move your left hand down to the inside of your left ankle, as you bring your right arm up, straight to the ceiling. This is extended triangle pose.

3. From here, turn your left foot outwards and move your right foot forward slightly, turning your gaze to the floor.

4. Bend your left leg (which should be your front leg) as you shift your body weight onto your left foot.

5. Reach your left hand forward slightly and rest it on the ground (or a high block for extra stability) directly under your left shoulder, pressing your fingers down to steady yourself.

6. Raise your right leg up until it is parallel to the ground. When stable here, stretch your right hand up to the ceiling as your slowly twist your hips, shoulders, and torso back to open your chest.

7. If you can, bring your gaze to your right hand to really test your balance. (Note: Keeping a slight bend in your standing leg will help you balance and prevent hyperextension in your knee!)

8. Remain here for 3-8 deep breaths, then release and repeat on the other side.

Tips And Tricks:

  • Proper alignment is more important than touching the floor in Half Moon Pose. Use a chair or blocks for support to feel supported in your alignment.
  • Make sure your shoulders are stacked over your wrists and your hips are stacked on top of each other.

Half Moon Pose Variation: supported Half Moon Pose

a woman wearing black yoga clothes doing half moon pose with a block

Place your hand or forearm on the base of a chair or on a block to stabilize your Half Moon. This will reduce the strain on your lower back and allow you to focus on proper joint stacking and alignment.

Precautions & Contraindications:

Back Pain Or Injury:

Half Moon Pose puts a significant amount of pressure on the lower back. If you are experiencing back pain, it may be wise not to enter this pose, or to take it easy in a supported Half Moon Pose. Always stay mindful that if you should feel pain, to make your way safely out of the pose.

Trouble Balancing Or Vertigo:

This asana requires you to have a strong balancing foundation. Drawing your eyes up to the sky can make you wobble! Make sure that if balancing isn’t your strong suit you come into this asana in a safe environment where you could fall without risking injury. Consider padding your surroundings with pillows or blankets.

Related Poses

Preparatory Poses:

Extended Triangle Pose

Tree Pose

Counter Poses:

Standing Forward Bend

Wide-Legged Standing Forward Bend

Child’s Pose

Downward Facing Dog

yogajala break 1000 × 40 px 1

For more in-depth asana resources, check out our free Yoga Pose Library. Here you’ll find complete guides to each and every yoga asana to deepen your yoga knowledge.

Each pose page features high-quality photos, anatomy insights, tips and tricks, pose instructions and queues, asana variations, and preparatory and counter poses.

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Maria Andrews is a 200h Registered Yoga Teacher, long distance runner, and adventure lover.

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