• T
  • H
  • M
  • Balancing in Half Moon

    half moon pose (ardha chandrasana)

    A lot of times prior to teaching students how to balance in half moon, I have them practice activating their feet. (Take a look at foot exercises!)

    The reason for this is to create a stable foundation.

    In a yoga pose like half moon, because the foundation is so small it can be very helpful to make it as stable as possible. That means learning to activate your foot and ankle. In half moon this can be a little bit challenging because the supporting foot is turned outwards relative to the pelvis.

    However, you can counter this limitation by being aware of your hip joints and your pelvis.

    Sensing Your Center of Gravity and Positioning It

    Especially when first learning to balance on one foot, I'd suggest shifting your weight towards the front of your supporting foot so that your toes will naturally press down. In addition make the foot and ankle "strong" so that it is easier to stay balanced.

    With the hand on the floor it can be easy to relax the foot. If you wish to lift the hand, I'd suggest stabilizing the foot first. Press the toes down and restablize foot and ankle, then lift your hand. When standing up from the pose, try to keep your weight towards the front of your foot so that your toes continue to press down even as you return to upright.

    Moving Into Half Moon Yoga Pose Step-by-Step

    First turn your right foot out 90 degrees.

    Shift weight onto your right foot and as you do so activate the foot and ankle. Shift far enough to the right so that your toes press down. Then lift your left foot.

    To begin with lift the left foot an inch (or a few centimeters) and hold while staying balanced.

    Turn your pelvis so that it faces the front. Then, to lift your left leg higher focus on lifting the left side of your pelvis.

    If you find that your leg is wobbly despite your feet and ankles being strong, focus on keeping your knee and shin pointing to the side (in the same direction as your foot) and push your inner thigh forwards (in the same direction as your foot is pointing.)

    Do this while keeping your foot stable.

    Try to roll the left side of your pelvis backwards so that your pelvis faces the front. To do this try using the outer hip muscles of your right (supporting) leg. Then try to lift your left leg higher. Initially try to get it horizontal and then see if your can lift it higher by using the outer hip muscles of your left leg.

    balancing in half moon with hand lifted, neil keleher, sensational yoga poses
    balancing in half moon with hand lifted, neil keleher, sensational yoga poses

    Touching the Hand to the Floor in Half Moon Yoga Pose

    To touch your hand to the floor you may find it helps to bend your knee a little. You may also find it helpful, at least initially to use a yoga block.

    balancing in half moon using a yoga block, neil keleher, sensational yoga poses

    Once you touch your hand to the floor you can work at gradually straightening your knee.

    If using a yoga block, see if you can gradually reduce the height of the block (turn it) till you can touch your hand to the floor.

    Once your hand is on the floor and you are in half moon yoga pose you can practice shifting your weight.

    • Feel the way your hand and foot press into the floor.
    • Move your pelvis to the right, towards your supporting hand. Notice the change in the way your hand presses down into the floor. It is now supporting part of your body weight.
    • Shift your weight back onto your foot.
    • Make sure that your foot and ankle are active and see if you can notice the arm relaxing.
    • Next see if your weight is truly over your foot by lifting your hand.
    • Keep it lifted for a few breaths then put the hand back down again.
    half moon pose (ardha chandrasana), weight partially on the hand
    half moon pose (ardha chandrasana), weight on the foot
    half moon pose (ardha chandrasana)

    You can repeat the exercises as follows.

    • Place your hand on the floor
    • Rock your weight onto your hand
    • Shift your weight over your foot
    • Take your hand off of the floor.

    After a few repetitions see if you can stand slowly and smoothly, in full control.

    balancing in half moon pose while looking up. Neil Keleher, sensational yoga poses
    balancing in half moon pose while looking up. Neil Keleher, sensational yoga poses

    Note that this pose can be a little more challenging if you look up as opposed to down.

    Another exercise is to try closing your eyes. I like to close the eyes for a second (focusing on feeling the foot) the open. Then I repeat, gradually extending the length of time I keep the eyes closed.

    Another challenge is to bend the elbow of the supporting arm and try to move the side of the ribcage towards the standing thigh.

    Yoga for beginners 1 ebook, Getting a feel for your body, Neil Keleher, Sensational Yoga Poses.
    Yoga for beginners 2 ebook, Getting a feel for your body, Neil Keleher, Sensational Yoga Poses.
    Muscle Control for Better Flexibility ebook, Keleher, Sensational Yoga Poses.
    Working Towards Wheel Pose ebook, body awareness exercises to make difficult poses easier, Neil Keleher, Sensational Yoga Poses.

    Return to Home Page from Half Moon Yoga Pose

    Return to Yoga Poses

    Return to Yoga Balance Poses


    Basic Balance


    Inverted Yoga Poses

    Yoga Arm Balances

  • Crow Pose
  • Galavasana
  • More Arm Balances

    Understand Balance

    What's New?

    Create Integrated Strength (and Flexibility) with Friction and Pressure

    Friction and pressure are two simple techniques that I use to help my students get stronger and more flexible. These simple techniques also offer a roadway into not only learning how to activate your muscles, but getting a feel for them and your body. Three challenging yoga poses that I use these techniques in are chaturanga, front splits and side splits. While they might not help you get all the way down into the splits, they'll help you feel stronger, and more integrated as you work towards them. And because I've got to pay for my daughters schooling this week, I'm offering a discount on the frictional muscle control videos. (First 100 people only can save over 30%).

    Continue reading "Create Integrated Strength (and Flexibility) with Friction and Pressure"

    Active Stretching

    Active stretching teaches you muscle control to not only improve flexibility but also body awareness. You'll learn how to adjust postures for better feel as well as more control through a broader range of motion.

    Continue reading "Active Stretching"

    Standing Exercises for Low Back Pain

    Standing exercises for low back pain plus anatomy that can affect the low back and how to use that anatomical understanding.

    Continue reading "Standing Exercises for Low Back Pain"

    Sensational Yoga Poses

    Experience your body (and understand it) with sensational yoga poses.

    Continue reading "Sensational Yoga Poses"

    Barefoot Running Heel Strike

    Is it a bad idea to heel strike while barefoot running? What are the possible benefits of heel striking? When should you not heel strike?

    Continue reading "Barefoot Running Heel Strike"

    Yoga Poses for Abs

    These yoga poses for abs work on the abdominal muscles (and hips) in both standing positions and seated positions.

    Continue reading "Yoga Poses for Abs"

    Enjoying the Experience of Your Body

    Sensational yoga poses, lessons to help you enjoy the experience of your body.

    Continue reading "Enjoying the Experience of Your Body"

    Ashtanga Standing Pose Vinyassas

    Here are the Ashtanga Standing Pose Vinyassas, with inhale movements highlighted in red.

    Continue reading "Ashtanga Standing Pose Vinyassas"

    Seated Yoga Poses

    These seated yoga poses have been organized into a rough routine and include lotus, virasana, janu sirsasana and marichyasana variations as well as more basic seated poses like bound angle, pigeon and seated forward bend.

    Continue reading "Seated Yoga Poses"

    Seated Hamstring Stretch

    In this preparation for compass pose use your arms to pull your leg towards you for a seated hamstring stretch. To modify, use a strap.

    Continue reading "Seated Hamstring Stretch"

    Hip Flexors

    Single joint hip flexors include iliacus, pectineus, obturators, gemelli and gluteus minimus. Use them to help improve your forward bends.

    Continue reading "Hip Flexors"

    Sensational Yoga Ebooks and videos

    Sensational Yoga ebooks and videos are designed to help you experience your body while focusing on specific poses, actions or parts of the body.

    Continue reading "Sensational Yoga Ebooks and videos"

    Extreme Stability for Yoga Video

    Extreme stability teaches you how to work from the ground up when creating stability, whether you are doing poses on your hands or your feet (or some combination of both).

    Continue reading "Extreme Stability for Yoga Video"

    Working Towards Wheel Pose

    The working towards wheel pose ebook teaches you basic body first so that you can feel and control your spine, hips and shoulders, so that working towards difficult poses (in this case wheel pose) is easier.

    Continue reading "Working Towards Wheel Pose"

    Muscle Control for Better Flexibility

    The Muscle control for better flexibility ebook teaches you simple muscle activation techniques that can make it easier to improve your flexibility. Techniques focus on forward and back bending the hips but can be applied to other movements also.

    Continue reading "Muscle Control for Better Flexibility"

    Yoga for Beginners 2

    Building up on the material for part 1, Yoga for Beginners 2 teaches you how to make your body stable for a slightly different experience of your hips and shoulders.

    Continue reading "Yoga for Beginners 2"

    Simple Hip Control Exercises

    Video: This set of simple hip control exercises help you to stabilize the hip joint and control it. You may find these exercises help you improve hamstring and hip flexor strength and flexibility.

    Continue reading "Simple Hip Control Exercises"

    Yoga for Beginners 1

    One approach to learning yoga is to simply practice yoga poses. The approach in Yoga For Beginners 1 is to help you to learn to feel your body while doing yoga poses.

    Continue reading "Yoga for Beginners 1"

    Balance Basics

    Some of the exercises in Balance Basics includes learning to balance on the fronts of your feet as well as on one foot using weight shifting exercises. It also includes exercises for crow pose. I've included videos based on the balanace exercises in the book on this page.

    Continue reading "Balance Basics"