Thursday 21 June 2012

Ardha-Chandrasana Half Moon Pose - For Beginners


Unless you are fortunate enough to be made of cooked spaghetti, your attempt to raise your arms over your head and look like a church steeple will be as fraught with complications as inhaling and exhaling to a count of six. The most frequent problem is that you find your chin is crushed down onto your chest  - instead of 3 inches away from it. Try moving the shoulders backward and look into the mirror. Progress is quick to come!


It might feel super easy to just bend yourself to the right, but those are not bending poses; they are stretching poses. Once you steeple it up and your chis is lifted as much as possible, sway your hips directly to your left before you do anything else. Sense the immediate pulling in the left waist. Now you are doing the right thing - counterbalancing the weight between torso and hips! If you can stretch only one inch to the side in this manner the first day you will be miles ahead of the fellow who breaks at the waist, twists his body, and bends halfway to the floor. He has accomplished nothing, while tomorrow, you will stretch a couple of more inches, and then more and more!!


 You'll always be better at doing things on one side than the other. But it will be a different side with each pose, lopsided creatures like we are! "Staying like a statue"  - for a count of ten! The exercises are called "poses" for good reason. The object is to reach the ultimate correct stretch that you, on that day, are capable of, then to hold it for 10 honest seconds! You then relax to allow the blood to circulate and normalize, then you stretch again. This alteration is where the benefit is derived! So don´t advance and retreat like a nervous puppy - freeze like a pointer!


You will be making many sounds in this pose  - totally normal, but make sure you breath once in a while! "Just let your head go" seams simple enough. Except that it won't seem to go back. Relax! Focus your attention on the base of your neck and let it go in that spot. More. The back bending won´t be half as difficult or uncomfortable if only you relax!. This pose requires both stretching and bending. Keep knees and feet together! Gather your courage, renew your effort to push hips and thighs forward, and just let go there. Make sure your bum is nice and tight, that will protect your back! But most of all  - if you learn to relax in that pose you can´t hurt you! (think of babies who are super relaxed and can bounce back from falling..and drunks who often fall over with no injuries..just because they are relaxed)

You will probably feel dizzy when you get there and you will want to collapse your hands on your head. But don' t give in!!!

Read more about the benefits of this pose and a watch a video  -

Drawings and info from "Bikram´s Beginning Yoga Class " Book, 1978.

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