If you have been watching the sky, you may have noticed the moon has basically been “disappearing” over the past few days as it moves into waning crescent/new moon phase. BUT, you can be your own moon during this “dark” phase by practicing the half moon pose or Ardha Chandrasana (are-dah chan-DRAHS-anna)!
In Sanskrit, ardha translates as “half” and candra means glittering, shining, having the brilliancy or hue of light and can be translated as “moon“.
“Half Moon Pose (Ardha Chandrasana) invites you to tap into both the calm, balancing energy of the moon and the fiery force of the sun,” according to yogajournal.com. “The moon has a rich symbolic significance in yoga mythology. In hatha yoga, for example, the sun and the moon represent the two polar energies of the human body. In fact, the word hatha itself is often divided into its two constituent syllables, “ha” and “tha”, which are then esoterically interpreted as signifying the solar and lunar energies respectively.”
“Half Moon Pose is a great asana for learning how to balance and grow awareness in what can at first seem a disorienting position.”
Yoga Basics offers the following instructions for achieving the half moon pose:
1. From High Lunge with the left foot forward, inhale and step forward into the left foot, straightening the left leg. Straighten the right leg up parallel to the floor.
2. Staring at a point on the floor, place the left palm directly under the left shoulder and carefully bring the right hand to the right hip. Roll the right hip up and back so the hips face the side wall.
3. Inhale the right fingertips up towards the ceiling. Turn the head to face the side wall. Work on turning the whole torso to face the side wall.
4. Breathe and hold for 3-5 breaths.
5. To release: exhale and slowly bring both hands back to the floor and step the foot back into High Lunge.
6. Repeat on other side.
You can watch a video here on the half moon yoga pose.
Posing tips, offered by Kat Heagberg through Yoga International include:
• Keeping your front knee aligned, press your front foot down into the floor, and resist it to the right, as though you were trying to turn your front foot out, but can’t because it’s stuck to the floor.
• Keep that, and press your back foot against the wall, and resist up, as though someone was trying to push your back thigh down and you were resisting against them (your foot and leg won’t actually move, you’re just resisting).
• Maintaining this dual resistance (pressing down and resisting out with the front foot, and pressing back into the wall and resisting up with the back foot), you might even find that you’re so stable that you can not only extend your top arm up, but you might even be able to lift your bottom hand away from the block!
The pose can ease lower-back problems, relieving sacrum pain, sciatica pain, and lumbar aches, and therapeutic applications include anxiety, osteoporosis, fatigue, constipation, gastritis, indigestion, and menstrual pain.
Would you like to learn more about the half moon pose? Bring your glittering, shining, brilliant self to Sunrise Yoga and let one of our glittering, shining, brilliant instructors assist you! We would be over the moon to work with you!
Check out our class schedule to find a class that works for you. Email us at email@example.com for more information.
Sunrise Yoga Studio’s founder and owner, Valerie Kiser, definitely has a passion for learning! She has pursued certifications and education in many aspects of yoga not only to deepen her own understanding and practice but to share that knowledge and experience with others.
And because she wants yoga to be better understood as more than a means to becoming more physically flexible, Valerie makes sure Sunrise Yoga offers a variety of classes for all levels of experience and for all body types. While Valerie personally teaches many of the classes offered at Sunrise Yoga, she particularly enjoys the Select Your Study classes offered weekly on Wednesdays 6:00-7:30 pm.
In the Select Your Study classes, the topics vary week to week and could include things such as specific pose work or pose type, a therapeutic theme, a particular part of the body, or more! These classes are wonderful places to learn something new or dig a little deeper in your yoga practice.
February’s Select Your Study classes included Making Friends with Handstand, Heart Opening Yoga (for Valentine’s Day!), and Flow Yoga. And on Wednesday, February 28th, Valerie will cover Yoga for Golfers! And coming in March, Strength Training for the Yogi (March 7th), Level 4 Handstands & Backbends (March 14th), Chakra Sun Salutations (March 21st), and, since Spring brings some not so nice things, Yoga for Allergies (March 28th).
Valerie welcomes your suggestions for future classes. Is there something you would like to know more about that would help you in your yoga practice? Is there an area in your life where a yoga connection could be explored? Send Valerie an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) with your topic ideas and questions! We like making yoga fun. We like variety. And we want to help you be passionate about learning!
Select YOUR Study and fuel YOUR passion for learning!
This month’s pose is the Utthita Trikonasana (oo-TEE-tah trik-cone-AHS-anna) or Extended Triangle Pose.
From www.tummee.com, “Utthita, means extended/spread and Trikona, means triangle. In other words Utthita Trikonasana means , extended triangle pose. Uttihita Trikonasana requires mastery over the upper body, as the hips and the neck need to be turned easily. This Asana comes under the category of Standing and Balancing Asanas. They can also be considered as Hip Opener Poses.”
The benefits and focus of the extended triangle pose include improved balance and flexibility, relief from back pain, sciatica, and osteoporosis, stimulation of abdominal organs, improved digestion, increased energy and focus, stress relief, and relief from menopause symptoms. Physically, the calves, hamstrings, and ankles are strengthened, and the hips, chest, and shoulders are opened.
As Gwen demonstrates in this image, and as www.yogajournal.com points out, “You can see several triangles in the pose: Your hands and back foot are the points of one; your two feet are points of another; and your torso, arm, and front leg form the sides of yet another. The main triangle that you can see in the pose is the one at the bottom, where the floor is the base and your legs are the sides. The feet and floor form the foundation of the structure.”
Step by Step (from https://www.ekhartyoga.com):
* Facing the long edge of your mat, step your feet wide apart, about the length of your leg.
* Turn your right foot 90 degrees so the toes point to the short edge of the mat, and turn the left foot in about 45 degrees towards the right.
* Distribute weight evenly over the four corners of both feet, lift arches and inner ankles up.
* With straight legs, lift your knee caps drawing the top of thighs up and back, roll the right thigh out so the right knee is in line with first two toes.
* Lengthen through both sides of the waist, draw you lower belly in and up. Inhale and lift your arms parallel to the floor, extend through to the fingertips as you exhale.
* Inhale and reach to the right extending your body over your right leg, shift your hips towards the back of the mat and exhale as you bring your right arm down, placing your hand where it reaches, either on the leg, foot, the floor or a block outside the foot.
* Point the left arm straight up to the ceiling, hand in line with your shoulder, palm facing forwards.
* Keep as much length in the left side waist as in the right, rotate your ribs to the ceiling.
* Lengthen through the sides of the neck, keeping your neck in line with spine. Look straight in front of you, or tuck the chin slightly and turn to look up toward your left hand.
* Keep your face relaxed and breath gently as you keep pressing through the feet, extending through fingertips and lengthening through the crown of the head.
* To come out press your feet firmly into the floor, inhale and reach your left arm up to the ceiling as you come back to standing straight.
* Pivot your heels so you reverse the orientation of your feet to the other side and repeat on the left.
Warrior I ~ Virabhadrasana I
Practicing Warrior I strengthens and stretches the legs, opens the hips and chest and stretches the arms. Warrior I helps develop mental focus, balance and being grounded to the Earth. This pose improves circulation and respiration, energizing the body. Have you practiced it today? Follow these steps and give it a try!
1. From Tadasana (Mountain Pose), step your feet 3 1/2 – 4 1/2 feet apart. Turn your right foot to the right keeping your right knee in line with your right foot. Step your left foot at about 45 degrees. Bend the right knee, making sure the right knee is directly over the right ankle.
2. Bring the hands to the hips. Square the shoulders to the front wall. Relax the shoulders down and draw the shoulder blades towards the spine to open the chest.
3. Inhale the arms over the head with the palms facing each other (or you may keep your hands on the knees or the hips). Keep the shoulders relaxed and the chest lifted.
5. Inhale deeply into the belly and chest, exhale press into the feet, fingers and crown, feeling your body expanding out.
6. Keep breathing and hold for 3-6 breaths.
7. To release, exhale and lower the hands down to the floor, straighten the right leg, turn feet forward and step back together in Tadasana. Repeat the pose on the left side of the body.
Jnana Mudra is a powerful mudra (or hand position) that brings about peace, calm, and spiritual progress. It has various health benefits and is one of the most practiced mudras. Jnana Mudra stimulates the root chakra, it eases tension and depression and relates to expansion and knowledge. This mudra is profoundly calming and brings a sense of openness and ease in meditation. It is one of the most recognized and widely practiced mudras. When used with pranayama (breathing practices) and meditation, Jnana Mudra can lessen drowsiness, inspire creativity, and increase mental focus. Jnana Mudra is most often practiced with the hands resting on the thighs. This mudra can be used lying down, sitting or standing whenever you have the time to practice it. Here is the “how to” do the Jnana Mudra: Connect the thumb and the forefinger (tip to tip). The other fingers are straight and relaxed and the pressure between the thumb and forefinger is light. We invite you to try the Jnana Mudra today. May it bring a sense of calm and serenity into your day.
Trikonasana or Triangle Pose opens the hip joints, inner thighs and the hamstrings. The pose also helps improve breathing by creating space between the ribs. Please exercise caution if you experience sacroiliac discomfort or any discomfort.
How to get into the pose:
Have a beautiful day! Namaste.