Revolved Half-Moon Made Easy(er)

Find your way into this balancing twist with support from a block or two!

Revolved Half-Moon Pose (Parivrtta Ardha Chandrasana) is one of those elusive poses that many people avoid — unnecessarily! I struggled with this Twisting/Balancing Pose until I discovered some key ways to make it less daunting and more accessible. I’m happy to offer you these tips on how to prepare for Revolved Half-Moon Pose to make it a little easier, even if you’ve never attempted it before.

All you’ll need is a block (or two), so let’s get started!

Half Standing Forward Bend, preparation for Revolved Half-Moon Pose (Parivrtta Ardha Chandrasana
Half Standing Forward Bend

Prepare to balance

Stand your blocks on end 12 to 15 inches in front of your toes and about shoulder-width apart. If you have just one block, center it in front of your feet so that it triangulates with them. Stand in Mountain Pose (Tadasana), then hinge forward from your hips, keeping your spine as straight as possible. Try to avoid rounding your back. Place your hands on your block(s). You’re now in Half Standing Forward Bend (Ardha Uttanasana).

Half Standing Forward Bend with bent knees

Next, bend your knees slightly. This will help create more stability AND tilt your pelvis forward, relaxing your lower back and making it easier to lengthen your spine. These are valuable as you move into a Warrior III variation and prepare for Revolved Half-Moon Pose.

Warrior III prep

Now shift your weight a little forward into your hands on the block(s). Slide your right foot back 12 inches or so behind your left heel until just your toes touch the floor. Keep your right leg fully extended (not bent at the knee). For now, think of your right leg as a kickstand of support.

Flex your right foot to lift your toes a few inches off the floor. Then point your foot to bring the toes back down to the floor. Do this several times to ease yourself into balancing on your left foot and leg.

Rise up!

Now flex your right foot and slowly lift your right leg higher. As you float your right leg up, keep your foot flexed and your leg fully engaged. This is essential to supporting your balance. Imagine that your right foot is pressing into a wall directly behind you and that you’re stretching the back of your right knee. You want to feel a lengthening from your sitting bone to your heel. Let your leg rise as high as it can go without exceeding hip height (parallel to the floor).

Warrior III variation, preparation for Revolved Half-Moon Pose (Parivrtta Ardha Chandrasana
Warrior III Variation

One of the more challenging aspects of Warrior III (Virabhadrasana III) is keeping your hips level with each other. This variation helps balance your hips so that when you approach the pose without the support of blocks, your body will remember what it level hips feel like.

Now it’s time to transition to Revolved Half-Moon Pose! Are you excited?

Easy does it

For now, keep your visual focus on the floor directly in front of your block(s). This is an excellent way to enhance your balance. Slowly and mindfully take your left hand to your left hip. Rushing this step may throw you off-balance, so take your time.

Visualize lengthening your whole body from the center (around your navel) outward to the heel of your right foot and to the crown of your head. Like every twist, Revolved Half-Moon Pose depends on a long spine and space between the vertebrae to succeed.

Keep the toes of your right foot pointing downward and your leg fully extended. Then pull your navel up toward your spine to more effectively engage your core. Core strength is crucial to balance.

Slowly float your left shoulder up and back, opening your torso gradually toward the left side. If you twist too quickly, you’ll risk throwing yourself out of the pose or tightening the muscles in your back. So take your time, move mindfully, and pause to breathe.

Notice if your left foot is still happily supporting you or if it’s wobbly. Press down evenly through what is commonly called the four corners of the foot — the ball of the foot, the little-toe side of the foot, the inner heel, and the outer heel.

Complete your Revolved Half-Moon Pose

If you feel stable and fairly well-revolved, you might try to lift your left arm SLOWLY toward the ceiling. Stretch from your right hand on the block, up the right arm, across the chest, and up the left arm to the left hand. Visualize your arms in a straight, vertical line and your hands moving away from each other.

You can continue to look down at the floor, or you might gradually shift your focus out to the left side. Know that even the change in head position can impact your balance. If doing so throws you out of the pose, laugh it off and start over. Your body is learning a new approach or maybe even a new pose. Don’t expect perfection!

Revolved Half Moon Pose (Parivrtta Ardha Chandrasana)
Revolved Half-Moon Pose (Parivrtta Ardha Chandrasana)

Stay with Revolved Half-Moon Pose (Parivrtta Ardha Chandrasana) for several breaths if you can. However, make sure you reserve some energy and focus for coming out of the pose. We often spend so much time and effort on “getting there” that we don’t have enough left for “getting back”. As a result, it’s easy to exit a pose clumsily or even fall out of the pose.

Release and Repeat

Slowly shift your focus down to the floor again. Allow your left hand to return to your left hip. Float your left shoulder down level with your right shoulder before bringing your left hand back to the block. Lower your right toes to the floor. Bend your knees slightly, and gradually slide or step your right foot forward alongside your left foot. Bend your knees more and tilt your pelvis forward so that your spine can release forward and down into a Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana). Your hands may remain on the block(s) or rest on the floor. Or simply let your arms hang from your shoulders. Allow your spine and neck to relax completely so that your head dangles at the end of your spine like the clapper in a bell. Stay here for several breaths before rolling up slowly to Mountain Pose (Tadasana).

Repeat the sequence on the second side.

Lindel Hart teaches yoga online for PerfectFit Wellness. He lives in Western Massachusetts and teaches at Deerfield Academy, a private residential high school, as well as at Community Yoga and Wellness in Greenfield, MA. Visit his website, Hart Yoga.

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