Ardha Chandrasana aka the Half Moon Pose

2 years ago / by KT Hall
half moon pose
Image credits: Shutterstock

Half Moon Pose taps into the energy of the moon. Hence, while this pose looks simple, the importance of this asana is that it represents the moon’s energy as the moon and sun are powerful energies in our anatomy.

Exploring Half Moon for Yoga

Ardha Chandrasana or Half Moon Pose in Sanskrit is derived from the root words Parivrtta (Revolved), Ardha (Half), Chandra (Moon) and Asana (Pose). Parivrtta Ardha Chandrasana is a balancing pose and one of the most well-known standing yoga poses.

While it requires the student to twist your torso slightly as you maintain your balance, it takes coordination. Awareness and a deep focus are necessary to achieve this asana that can boost your energy levels. It’s commonly used in most flow yoga sequences like core yoga, teen yoga and hip opening yoga programs.

Half Moon Pose strengthens and stretches several muscle groups. These include the quadriceps, hamstrings, abdomen, biceps, triceps and psoas in the lumbar spine.

Half Moon Asana Benefits

Despite looking like a simple pose, Half Moon Pose takes balance given that it twists the upper body. It’s a difficult pose in that you need to develop a consistent breath-body relationship and increase mental and physical strength. Hence, this asana is more than turning on your side. It’s aligning and relaxing your thoughts, awareness and focus to ensure that all your muscle groups work together to maintain this pose. Hence, it provides several types of benefits.

Muscle Groups Involved

Half Moon stretches and strengthens the muscles in the back, legs, and shoulders and arms which carry the weight of the upper body. It also stretches the hamstrings, calf muscles and glutes as these work to support the hips and your weight.

Half Moon causes contractions to the quadriceps and gives a good workout to the hip when it’s extended. With a careful turn or twisting of the neck, it also receives a stretch as you look up. You’re also balancing with one hand to help you make the necessary turn or twist to the body.

During this pose, the psoas muscles in the low back also receive a good stretch. The abdomen is also gently pulled and strengthened as the front of the torso expands and contracts. This occurs on the side of the body that is facing in an upward direction as it helps to give added support to the shoulders and hips.

The side that’s facing down is compressed during this time and works to give additional support and stability. Lengthening and strengthening occur as the body is twisted and balanced with Half Moon Pose. This impacts the upper and lower back which are strengthened.

Range of Motion, Breathing and Flexibility

Ardha Chandrasana can increase your range of motion and flexibility. Hence, flexibility is required for this particular asana as it is working on your breathing and concentration. Breathing is crucial to achieving poses like Half Moon because you’re twisting the body. In this case, you’re expanding the ribs and chest wall before the twisting motion. Therefore, the full upper body and intercostal muscles must each engage correctly and comfortably.

Preparatory Poses and Similar Asanas

Additional poses like half moon yoga include Ardha Baddha Ardha Chandrasana which is Half Bound Half Moon and Baddha Parivrtta Ardha Chandrasana which is also referred to as Bound Revolved Half Moon.

A few preparatory poses can help warm up the body before going into half moon yoga. These include Half Bound Half moon pose and separately, Bound Half Moon Pose. These are deep stretches for the lower body that can help stretch and strengthen the hips, abdomen muscles and glutes.

Another meditative pose that can help you prepare for moon pose is Parivrtta Parsvottanasana which is Revolved Intense Side Stretch Pose. However, with this type of asana, the emphasis is more on engaging the stomach muscles and glutes. Then there’s Parivrtta Svarga Dvijasana (Revolved Bird of Paradise). But, with this pose, you’re achieving a deeper twist that will take more time to master as it requires more balance.

Additional Benefits

Practicing moon pose can help to increase your balance and help ensure your organs function properly. Women may find that this pose helps to regulate their reproductive organs.

This pose is good for increasing relaxation and reducing depressive or stressful thoughts. Halfmoon yoga is also a good way to raise your energy level and provide the brain with extra oxygen. Hence it’s essential to work on your breathing which can help calm the brain.

Precautions with Half Moon Pose

While yoga half moon may not look challenging, on the contrary, it requires a careful sense of concentration and balance. Not only do you have to align the body but it’s a difficult pose to hold and breathe through. If you are a beginner or teen starting with this pose, practice next to a wall or chair. A wall is preferred as it can give you sturdy balance. However, you can also use a chair as you learn to hold this particular asana for longer time frames. Some students will use a block to lean on until they’re comfortable enough to extend all the way to the ground.

There are other concerns with yoga half moon and that is while it can help to improve your lung capacity, students who have breathing disorders like asthma may have trouble holding this pose. However, because the chest wall is expanded, this pose might help them over time.

Before practicing this pose, work with an experienced yoga teacher who can assist you. This pose is not recommended for those that may have any type of pain, injury or shoulder to specific areas. These include the spine, knees, ankles, hips, wrist, neck, shoulders, or arms. The concern is that you don’t want to increase the pain or cause a tear to your joints or ligaments.

As this is a balancing pose, it takes time to achieve it and the mistake that can occur is if you suddenly lose your balance. Hence, you should avoid this asana or do a modified version with a chair or block. You’ll also want to avoid this pose if you have weak muscles or bones, trouble breathing or imbalances. Avoid this asana if you have an ear infection, for example. You might inadvertently cause more pressure in the ears when you bend over or it can cause vertigo or dizziness.


What is half moon pose good for?

Moon pose yoga can increase your range of motion and mobility. It can help strengthen the legs, thighs and glutes and alleviate sciatica symptoms. Halfmoon can also help calibrate your menstruation.

What does half moon pose represent?

Moon pose yoga positions the body gracefully like a half moon hanging in the sky. Similar to how the half-moon may represent darkness and light, or the dualities, this asana is a way to unite your solar and lunar energies into one pose.

What muscles does the half moon pose work?

Half Moon stretches and tones the thighs, hips, abdomen and glutes. It also opens the chest and stretches the spine and groin while increasing mobility in the neck.

Why is the moon pose banned?

A highly popular pose, Moon Pose was banned from major competitions. In competition, athletes had to bend over completely forward like they were doing a toe touch. Hence, their knees were locked and the emphasis was on the calves, glutes and hamstrings.

While this is a normal routine for bodybuilders, some found it offensive, vulgar or obscene because it meant an extenuated look at the buttocks, hamstrings and leg muscles.

When to inhale or exhale while doing half moon?

Half Moon requires careful breathing to achieve the twist and maintain your balance.

To achieve this take a breath with your left foot on the ground and your right arm up in the air. Then bring your right hand to the ground. Your abdomen will start to turn and your body will then become parallel to the ground. At that point, let out a breath and exhale completely as you put your hand on the ground.