Half Moon Pose may be one that we learn pretty early in our yoga practice, but that does not mean it's an easy pose. It requires balance, strength, stability, and flexibility. If those aren't your strong points, don't despair. Half Moon Pose may be a lot more accessible than you think. Read on for some help and tips.
Half Moon Pose is an awesome pose for focus. Balance poses have that effect because in order to balance, you need total concentration. Really, all balance poses are good for focus, grounding, relieving anxiety, and more (read more about this in my post Benefits of Balance Poses). Half Moon is also a strengthening pose, building strength in the legs, core, and back. It also opens the hips and chest, so it's a little bit of everything: strength, stretch and balance.
Below, you'll find some quick tips to help you with Half Moon Pose...
Tips, modifications, & Common misalignments
• Prepare for it. Some prep poses that are helpful are:
* Any core pose that reminds you of the core stability you need for Half Moon. Activate the deep core muscles like you're zipping up tight pants.
* Mountain Pose: reminding you of the long, neutral spinal alignment you need.
* Poses that prepare your hips for the flexibility needed. Try some supine hip mobility circles, which simply rotate the hip joints. Try Crescent Lunge or Kneeling Crescent Lunge to stretch the hip flexors.
* Simple Chest Stretch: to help you have the opening needed at the torso, chest and front of the shoulders.
* Lengthen the hamstrings: use forward folds, straddle splits, or Pyramid pose.
Next, take a look at the diagram below. Refer to it as needed as I quickly break down some more tips, modifications, and common misalignments.
• All balance poses start at the foundation. Here, it's the weight bearing foot. Anchor firmly there. You won't be able to balance with out this step. Think of having active feet, so even the lifted foot is active and reaching through the heel (as seen in the photo), giving you more stability in the lifted leg.
• Activate the legs: strong legs will give you much more overall stability. Make sure to never lock your knees, but do try to lengthen the legs. Think of both legs reaching.
• Squeeze the core, including the obliques to keep your spine supported.
• To keep the hips, torso, and shoulders aligned, think of trying to revolve those areas toward the sky. The tendency is to let them revolve towards the floor. Refer to the photo above to see the difference.
• Active arms that reach in opposite directions.
• Be nice to your neck. You neck is part of your spine, so try to keep it in alignment with the rest of your spine. You can gaze up, straight ahead, or even down, but try not to strain or crane your neck. It's delicate; be nice to it. Again, take a look at the photo breakdown above to compare the neck alignment.
• Maybe the biggest tip of all: Use a block to avoid coming out of neutral spinal alignment. You'll notice in the diagram that my legs are much longer than my arms. So, for me, a block is an amazing prop to help me make this pose better, stronger, and safer by bringing the floor up to my hand.
• Another fantastic prop for Half Moon: the wall! Practice the pose with your hips just a few inches from the wall, so that when you try to open the hips and revolve the torso into the pose, the wall is behind you for physical support. You can approach this in one of two ways. The first is to use the wall. Work on understanding how the pose should feel when your hips, torso and shoulders are aligned (perpendicular to the floor), trying to touch both hips and shoulder blades to the wall. The second is to try the pose without needing the wall, but it's there to catch you if you lose your balance.
Balance poses take practice and patience. Keep practicing in an aware and safe way and remember not to force any pose on your body. We're all put together a little differently, and some poses come more naturally than others. Here's the biggest tip of all: be mindful and keep it fun.
Love & Light.
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Hi, I'm Blake. I love adventure, cooking, costume parties, wine, yoga, and reading...in that order. Follow my blog for yoga stuff, fitness tips, & healthy recipes...
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