Pose of the Week: Ardha Chandrasana

This week the pose is Ardha Chandrasana. Ardha = half and Chandra = moon. So this is the half moon pose.

It’s a challenging standing asana as it’s a balance as well. The fundamental prerequisite is Utthita Trikonasana (triangle pose – we looked at this a few week’s ago) where we learn to externally rotate the standing leg, open across the chest and find the lateral extension of the spine. That means we need to find an evenness along both sides of the spine and the trunk. Then there’s the transition from Trikonasana to Ardha Chandrasana. This requires control and balance in movement. We need to balance the muscular energy of the body with the calmness of the mind. Just as the sun and moon are complementary and mutually supportive.

Image: BKS Iyengar in Ardha Chandrasana; Tony practicing Ardha Chandrasana at Thursday night Level 1 class:)

“Only in stillness of mind can it [Ardha Chandrasana] be successfully maintained.” BKS Iyengar in Light on Life(p.141)

– The sun is the symbol of energy (prana) and fire

– The moon is the symbol of consciousness and water

Iyengar Yoga is Hatha Yoga, where Ha means sun and Tha means moon. So the lesson in this asana (as in all asanas) is to balance energy (sun) with consciousness (moon).

Where exactly is the half moon in the structure of the pose? It seems the jury is out on this, in fact no-one seems to have contemplated it very much…. In the photo of Ardha Chandrasana in Light on Yoga, BKS Iyengar’s top arm (ie. the non-supporting one) is extended along his torso and hip.

And the orientation of the moon is different in India, to how we view it in Australia. I saw this myself on my last visit. It’s horizontal. So it could be that the shape of the half moon is formed by the horizontal plane of the ground, and the curve of the moon by the arm, underside of the torso and the leg. Maybe….

See you on the mat 🙂

Learn Yoga in Newport with us. Understand what Iyengar Yoga is and how it influences our teaching methodology