by Barbora Simek
If the challenge of half-moon has ever left you asking ‘why the hell did am I putting myself through this?’ then OMB has your answers.
Half Moon (Ardha Chandrasana)
- Trims fat all over the body: thighs, hips, waist, buttocks, arms and abdomen.
- Improves and strengthens every muscle in the central part of the body, especially the back and abdomen.
- Increases flexibility of the spine
- Helps pigeon chest
- Helps release tension in the respiratory system
- Corrects bad posture
- Promotes proper kidney function
- Helps cure enlargement of the liver and the spleen
- Helps cure dyspepsia and constipation
- Helps to alleviate lower back pain, bronchial distress, scoliotic deformities, tennis elbow, frozen shoulder
- Realigns spine
- Stretches the lymph glands and is good for lymphoma
- Good for children to build will power and self-esteem
Proper alignment of half-moon exercises and opens many of the chackras.
- Aligning your hips opens the 1 (root), 2 (sexual) and 3rd (solar plexus) chackras. This breaks through issues of power, intimacy, sexuality, creativity and self-image.
- Opening of the shoulders activates the 3 (solar plexus), 4th (heart) and 5th (throat) chackras. releasing of the shoulder area helps to balance the difference you feel between your inner and outer self : how you see yourself, and how you feel the world sees you
- allows you to break free from taking yourself too seriously
Class Notes from the Pros
- You MUST use the hips. If you feel pain in the ribs or scapula, you are using your upper spine too much and not enough of your hips.
According to Craig, the two biggest mistakes in Half-Moon are holding the body up to avoid the pain of stretching and flopping down using only flexibility. Here are his tips to avoid these mistakes and improve your pose:
- Stretch up first as much as possible to open up the intervertebral disks [soft tissue between your vertebra]
- Your hips should initiate the movement because they are both your centre of gravity and prana [energetic center]
- Exhale as you stretch, gravity will help you. This applies to all poses that use gravity.
- Think ‘stretch’ instead of ‘come down’ so that the static arc of the posture will hold you up
- If you feel pain in your lower back, you have failed to stretch
- Instead of focusing on bringing the palms together, focus on stretching and lengthening which will automatically force the elbows to straighten and the palms to touch
Tips for Teachers
- Hold the first set at least 30 seconds, 1 minute is better. If the room is not hot enough, hold it approximately 1 minute – Craig
- Pay close attention to the order of the dialogue. “The dialogue is a set of variables executed in a sequence, each one must exist in order to allow the next to happen.” – Craig
- Say the dialogue once, make the students see themselves and repeat, repeat, repeat until they understand the pose - Bikram
- The first dialogue of half-moon is important because it establishes your authority in the class, and sets the stage for the students to surrender to the instructions. If you can make a beginner understand half-moon by second set, you can make them surrender. – Bikram
- Half-Moon is a very diagnostic posture, use your knowledge of the form to diagnose and anatomical inconsistencies affecting your students – Craig