Body & Mind: Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon)
It seems fitting that deepening ones connection with the present moment would bring about new observations of the world. These observations – if completely objective – encompass the two sides of everything. The Yin and the Yang. The intangible and tangible. The soft and the concrete. Accepting that when we observe, we have the choice to identify, quantify, and judge, we can also accept that there is an alternative: embracing what is without labels and with acceptance. Here, we connect with the essence of what it is that is stimulating our senses and allowing us to observe it.
Though this may sound complicated, it is actually quite simple when we change our perspective. Take a new approach to your observations. Create no boundaries for this person, place, or thing you observe. It is limitless in both structure and function. It is limitless in essence. Amazingly, it is what it is without our labels. This is the place where most of us would stop. We have observed the external without judgement. Taking it one step further, we can now observe the internal. Reaching within, we sense our potential. We breathe in the breath that nourishes, touches, holds that which we observe. If the external is without boundaries, wouldn’t that mean we are without limit as well?
Take a breath here. Feel your body expand. Feel your breath expand. Exhale sharing the art of being and breath wholly into the world around you. Now, repeat this mantra:
I AM LIMITLESS.
Can you imagine how full of light, love, and laughter your life could be if you entirely embraced this? How would it change your world? How would it shape the lives you touch?
One pose that many yogi’s shy away from – experienced or beginner – is Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon). Why? This pose in itself is limitless. It can seem beyond reach. Physiologically, it touches, opens, and strengthens the vast majority of our body. Emotionally, it eases anxieties, tensions and maladies lingering in the back and abdomen, and general fatigue. Beyond its beauty, the challenge of this pose can also bring about a sense of dis-ease. Limitless expansion brings along with it fears. We picture the perfect posture, the muscles involved, and the opening that it asks of us – our body, heart and breath. This pose is big and it is a challenge. But, the benefits, the rewards you will reap, in digging deep will be endless. Just imagine yourself as this newly limitless being. Your potential is huge. Like the smallest creature, the tiniest baby that enters the world, you have room for growth. You have potential.
Begin your adventure into the each day without boundaries – without labels – and start today. Breathe. Baby steps, dear friends. Embrace your potential slowly in Half Moon. (Yoga Journal gives a wonderful step-by-step instructional.) Modify the posture, for your fullest breath and deepest surrender. Yogi’s without a strong practice of Ardha Chandrasana, those with injury or malady, and pregnant/post-pardum women should begin in Thunderbolt posture, with your seat up upon your heels.
- Extend your side body long and straight toward the right and firmly plant your right fingertips into the earth. Breathe through the length of your torso, lifing up through the right hip.
- Center and align your hips, moving your left leg forward or backward to keep hips pointed forward, right leg strong. If you feel any discomfort in your right knee, place a towel or thin pillow beneath it.
- Lengthen your left leg, extending it out to the side with toes touching the earth. Your left hand can gently coax your hip in line to stay pointed forward, along with your gaze. If you feel stable, raise your left arm toward the sky. Those with a healthy neck can set their gaze to the sky as well.
- Those with good balance, and who are not pregnant, can raise their left leg off of the earth. Once this pose is mastered, challenge yourself by standing and using a block to connect your lower hand to the earth.
Why the moon? In yoga, the moon has great significance in its very calming or Yin qualities. All phases of the moon touch us. Half Moon pose is the same, exhibiting Yin and opening our hearts in new and beautiful ways each time we practice.
Reflection: This week, as I challenge myself with Half Moon. I aim to embrace its serenity. As I worked through our last pose (before Burrito) Uttita Trikonasana, I found that often I self-limited. The mind became the leader, and my heart closed. I followed what I believed I had to do instead of embracing what I needed to do – for my body and mind. It happens to all of us. The “Blinder Effect.” As I continue to walk along this path of peace, I accept that the mind wants. I also accept that my body and spirit need – there are whispers in the dark, waiting for us to open our eyes, turn on the light, and let the love in. In your own journeys know this: Love just is. Acceptance brings bliss. And YOU ARE LIMITLESS. Walk in peace, and repeat after me, “I am limitless.”
Now, go practice your variation of Half Moon. Namaste.