Ardha Chandra - Half-moon Pose
Ethymology and Synonyms
Ardha Chandrasana (Sanskrit: अर्धचन्द्रासन; IAST: Ardha Candrāsana) or Half Moon Pose.
Ardha (अर्ध): half, the other part, one part, one part of two. Candra or Chandra (चन्द्र): moon, luminous, glittering, shining, having the brilliancy or hue of light.
Candra also refers to a kind of reddish pearl, the eye in a peacock's tail and one of the 18 minor dvipas (द्वीप island or peninsula).
The starting point is with the legs slightly spread apart, in anjali mudrà and with the eyes fixing a point in space. Upon exhalation, the body slightly bends forward; then upon inhalation the body goes back up with the arms forming a cross. Do a wide step sideway, while turning the vision on the same side. Upon the next exhalation, bend the leg, still on the same side and position the hand on the ground slightly in front of the foot, upon a same line, and use it as a support. The other hand comes resting on the hip.
In this pose, the vision turns forward and uses a fixed point as a support. After adjustment of the pose, the breathing enters into visamavritti. The initial rhythm should follow 3, 6, 12. if this is to constraining, one can follow 3, 6, 6.
Once this step mastered, upon exhalation, the legs are straighten up if possible. To adjust to this new pose, it is possible to proceed by steps: the supporting leg can be more or less bent, and the other leg more or less raised. However, these steps are not a finality: the pose become truly active with both legs straight.
In this pose, the hips are tiled as if they were to be facing the point of visual fixation. In other words, the hips should not be slanted but vertical. The breathing continues in visamavratti and mulà bandha continues to be held, and the vision remains fixed. One then observes the circulation occurring. The breathing can become lateralized through one nostril only. Observe the circulation of energy in the legs and in the rest of the body. If possible, start increasing the respiratory rhythm to 4, 16, 8, and so forth. Remain in such state for 4 minutes, upholding the stability, firmness, balance and respiratory rhythm.
Finally, leave the pose upon exhalation, using both hands as support if necessary and come back to the standing position. Allow the body to come back to normal, and be attentive to relaxing the supporting leg.
Do the pose with the opposite side. Again pay attention to the breathing nostril and to the circulation of energy.
Follow the previous pose and raise the hand from the hip. Bring it vertically and have the eyes follow this pathway along the fingers. The pulp of the fingers continues to be fixed with intensity, while upholding the same gestures and same breathing count.
This pose is more powerful because it requires an increased neuro-muscular mastery due to the added balance difficulty. The sensation of space is also modified. This powerful variant is a major posture, reputed to give great emotional stability.
Chandra was born when the sea was churned by the gods and the demons, (see Kurma asana). When Chandra came to age, he married the twenty seven lunar constellations, who were Dakshas daughters.
One day the daughters complained to their father, "Our husband loves only our sister, Rohini. He neglects the rest of us."
In a fit of rage Daksha cursed the moon: "Chandra," said Daksha, "you will fade away and die."
Horrified, Chandra's wives begged their father to withdraw such a terrible curse. Daksha, however, agreed to change it. "Chandra, you will henceforth fade for a fortnight and grow for a fortnight."
That is why the moon continuously waxes and wanes.