Ardha Chadrasana is a balancing pose that strengthens the legs, ankles, and the entire side body. It is supposed to resemble the half moon, though honestly, I’ve never been able to see it. Oh, well.
Typically Half Moon Pose is entered into from and exited to Triangle Pose, which is what we’ll describe here. Starting from Triangle with the right leg forward, bend the right knee and slide the left foot forward to bring weight into the right foot. Place the right hand on the floor about twelve to eighteen inches in front of the right foot (the distance here should be roughly the distance as between your hip and your armpit). Once you have found your balance on the right foot, simultaneously lift the left leg behind you and straighten the right leg underneath. The left hip will most likely have come forward a bit so once you straighten the right leg, open both the hips and the chest to face the side of your mat.
Firm the right thigh and root yourself through the standing foot. The kneecap and the toes should be pointing straight forward. If you have a tendency to hyper-extend the knee, make sure to keep a slight bend in the standing leg. Keep the left leg actively engaged and strongly extend out through the left heel. The left toes should be pointed straight out to the side. Keep the sides of your torso strong and the spine straight. There should be a straight line from the left foot out through the crown of the head. The left arm can reach out from the shoulder up towards the ceiling, palm facing to the side. The gaze can be out to the side (easier) or up toward the extended hand (more difficult).
Once you have established the pose and found your balance, try and get as light as possible on the right hand. If you feel stable enough, you might even lift the hand off the mat entirely. The weight should be on the standing leg with the hand only there to help with balance. Stay in the pose as long as feels appropriate, then switch sides, staying on the second side for as long as the first.
If you have any questions, please leave a comment below. I’d love to hear from you or see you at one of my classes!