Help With Half Moon Pose

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Half Moon Pose helps build strength and stability in legs, strengthens the core, improves balance, stretches the legs and groin, and improves focus and concentration.

Topics in this post:

  • When is Half Moon contraindicated?
  • What do I do if I can’t reach my hand to the ground in Half Moon?
  • Why is it wrong for my raised leg to be lower than my hip?
  • How much distance should be between my grounded hand and foot?
  • Do I have to turn my head up to the sky in Half Moon?
  • What’s the most important thing to try first? This pose has many things to focus on at the same time. For beginners, what should the progression be? Should they bend their leg in order to keep the back leg straight? Should they try and get the hamstring stretch and then work on balance?

When is Half Moon contraindicated?

  • Acute foot, knee or hip injury
  • Acute hand, wrist or shoulder injury
  • Vertigo, inner ear issues, or other impairments to balance
  • Low blood pressure
  • Osteoporosis and other bone density diseases
  • Pregnancy – especially third trimester

What do I do if I can’t reach my hand to the ground in Half Moon?

  • There are several reasons why you may not be able to reach your hand to the ground in Half Moon. You may have shorter arms, or longer legs, or your hamstrings may be overly tight. It is perfectly fine to modify this pose in a way that provides some support for your grounded hand if it’s not directly on the ground. Look to the modifications section, above, to find an option that works for you.

Why is it wrong for my raised leg to be lower than my hip?

  • Letting the raised leg droop down below the hip is problematic for a couple reasons. Primarily, it can place additional and unnecessary strain on the hip joint as well as on the lower back and core to sustain the extra weight of the drooping leg. Additionally, it is most often an indication that the leg is not engaged. This means you’re missing out on the strengthening benefits of the pose as well as making balance exponentially more challenging. Engage the entire leg, lengthening it out through your heel and drawing it in at your hip joint (to connect the leg to the torso) to provide the strength needed to lift the leg into alignment with the hip. If you are too weak to lift the leg so that it is parallel with the ground, you can modify the pose with some props for support. (See the modifications section, above.)

How much distance should be between my grounded hand and foot?

  • The distance between the grounded hand and foot will vary depending on the size and shape of your body. It is, essentially, the distance of your torso. Your standing foot should be directly beneath your hip, and your grounded hand should be directly beneath your shoulder. This allows you to lengthen your spine and activate your core for maximum safety and support in the pose.

Do I have to turn my head up to the sky in Half Moon?

  • The fullest expression of Half Moon has the head turning to look up at the raised hand. However, if you have a stiff neck, or are prone to balance issues, you can simply keep your head and gaze turned toward the ground.

What’s the most important thing to try first?

  • This pose has many things to focus on at the same time. For beginners, what should the progression be? Should they bend their leg in order to keep the back leg straight? Should they try and get the hamstring stretch and then work on balance?

  • There is no one right approach to this, or any pose, when deciding what to focus on first. Pay attention to your body. If you have really tight hamstrings, as many beginners do, it might make the most sense to modify the pose with a bent standing leg and/or a block support at the grounded hand. This can allow you to focus on perfecting the other aspects of the pose that are a little less challenging. You don’t have to do it all perfectly at your first attempts. Employ the modifications listed above to help provide some support and stability while you are developing the strength and flexibility and balance to perform the full pose unassisted.

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