Ardha Chandrasana

This has got to be one of my favourite standing poses because it gives such a wonderful full body workout and stretch! There’s something about this pose that makes it quite different from the rest of the standing asanas – no other brings as much satisfaction, probably because it’s quite effortless compared to compared to other standing asanas which require balance. The chest feels open in this pose, but unlike Warrior II, this pose brings the feeling of lightness, liberation and freedom – quite close to effortless flying, literally.

First things, the sanskrit translation of ‘ardha’ is half and ‘chandra’ refers to having brilliance or shine, and is usually translated as moon. The moon has symbolic significance in yoga, often representing the lunar energies or the ‘yin’.

But why is it called Half Moon and where’s the Moon in this pose? It’s said that this asana is akin to a half moon in the sense of the lateral extension of the pose being like the transversing of the half moon across the sky. 

For the above pose where the right leg is grounded, the joint positions are:-

  • Right hip flexed

  • Right foot is everted and dorsiflexed

  • Both the right and left knees are extended

  • Left hip is laterally rotated

  • Both the right and left hands are abducted

  • Cervical spine is rotated so the head faces upward


The muscles which are stretched are the mainly the muscles in the trunk area, including the serratus anterior, obliquus externus & internus, rectus abdominis, transversus abdominis, multifidus spinae, latissimus dorsi and erector spinae. The vastus medialis and gracilis on the grounded leg is stretched as well.

The muscles which are strengthened in this pose are the gluteus medius & maximus, piriformis, quadratus femoris, obdurator internus & externus, tensor fascia latae of the left leg (lifted); sartorius, semimebranosus, semitendinosus and biceps femoris of the right leg (grounded); iliacus, iliopsoas, pectineus of the right hip.


Josephine Goh

200hr TTC Jan-May Weekend

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