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Half Moon Pose (Ardha Chandrasana) is defined by versatility. It’s a standing posture, a hip opener, a chest opener, and side body lengthener. It’s a yoga pose that works on virtually every aspect of your body and not only builds strength but improves balance and proprioception.
Yet that same versatility doesn’t always apply to how we transition into the pose. In most yoga classes, we’re cued into Half Moon Pose from Warrior 2 or Triangle. That’s it. These transitions are familiar, reliable, and safe. But there are more unique ways to enter Half Moon pose that mirror its adaptability and challenge your body and your brain in a different way than usual.
The following transitions are intended for you to experience a little play on your mat. Just like anything, the more you practice them, the easier they will become to execute.
3 Ways to Come Into Half Moon Pose (That You’ve Probably Never Seen Before)
1. The Twisty Fold
Why not come into Half Moon from the front of the mat? This variation makes it easier to maintain your balance since your center of gravity starts—and stays—lower than usual.
Here’s how to do it: Begin in Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana). Place your right hand on the floor or a block beneath your forehead. Bend your right knee and lift your left arm toward the ceiling as you turn your chest toward the left long side of the mat. Bend your left elbow and wrap it around your back, making contact with your right hip, thigh, or knee if possible. Shift your weight to your right hand and foot. Slowly lift your left leg
2. Seated Figure 4
This transition into Half Moon Pose is my favorite because it takes us from a seated posture to a standing one—something that’s quite rare in a yoga practice. This does require a certain amount of hip flexibility and strength in order to execute, so teachers, keep your students in mind when you decide whether or not to sequence it.
Here’s how to do it: Come to a seat with your feet on the floor in front of you and your knees bent. Place your left ankle on your right knee in a figure-4 shape and your hands on the mat behind you. Keep your left foot flexed as you begin to sway your legs from side to side, bringing your foot closer and closer to the floor on your right. Eventually place your left foot on the floor with your toes pointed toward the front of the mat. Your left hip will lift off the mat. Lean forward with your chest and reach your left arm toward the front of the mat as you push off with your right hand behind you. Press your left hand into the mat as you shift all your weight into your left foot and right shin. Place your right hand on your right hip while you lean forward and start to stand on your left foot, reaching your right leg toward the wall behind you. Straighten your left leg and reach your right arm toward the ceiling.
3. Side Plank
This transition can be executed from any version of Side Plank (Vasisthasana). Check out the video above for a bonus fourth option starting with your bottom knee resting on the mat for support.
Here’s how to do it: Start in Side Plank with your right hand and outer edge of your right foot on the mat. Ensure that your right shoulder is stacked above your wrist for maximum stability. Hover your left foot slightly above your right ankle or the mat. Bend your left knee and draw it toward your chest. Look down at your right hand and start to rotate your chest toward the mat as you come onto your right fingertips and step your left foot toward the front of the mat. The exact placement of your foot and the distance from the front of the mat aren’t of consequence. Press firmly through all corners of your left foot. Shift your weight into your left foot and bring your left hand to the mat in front of you. Turn your entire body toward the right long side of the mat as you bring your right hand to your right hip and lift your right leg. Push through your lifted heel and reach your right arm toward the ceiling to find yourself in Half Moon!
About Our Contributor
Sarah White is a continuing-education provider based in Dubai. Her creative sequencing style is born from her own curiosity and exploration of the human body and many other movement disciplines. Learn more about Sarah and her Creative Sequencing Teacher Training here or follow her on instagram @Sar_white for more creative inspiration.