Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon Pose)

Iyengar's difficulty rating: 5* out of 60*

Iyengar's Technique:

  1. Assume the final form of Utthita Trikonasana with the R leg forward.
  2. Bend your R knee deeply and move your L foot forward so that you can place your R palm on the floor in front of your R foot. Take two breaths.
  3. Lift your straight, strong L leg away from the floor by pushing into and straightening your R leg.
  4. Place your L palm on your L hip and stretch up. Keep your shoulders open and lifted. Turn your chest up and to the L.
  5. Keep your weight in your R foot and hip. Use your hand solely to control your balance.
  6. Hold for 20-30 seconds, then return to Utthita Trikonasana.

Comparing Forms:

  • Iyengar's arms are much longer in proportion to his body than mine. Keeping my palm on the floor was extremely awkward and challenging. I vastly prefer getting a few extra inches of length by balancing on my fingertips.
  • Iyengar's R leg is completely straight and at the end of its range of motion. In my picture, I'm "microbending" my R knee in an effort to avoid hyperextension and posterior knee pain. In the time since this picture was taken, I've learned how to activate my muscles in such a way that I can skip the microbend with no adverse effects.
  • Iyengar is plantarflexing (pointing) with his L ankle. I'm dorsiflexing (the opposite of pointing). I was always taught to dorsiflex in this pose, and I like what it does to activate the muscles of my lower leg. But now I'm curious to try plantarflexion and see how that feels.