Yoga - Ardha Chandrasana
by B.K.S. Iyengar
In the previous issue of Life Positive, we described Supta Padangusthanasana, calling it a supine standing pose. In this issue we describe the standing pose, ardha chandrasana. 'Ardha' means half and 'chandra' is moon. This asana develops balance and makes the mind more focused. Here is the technique of the pose, perform it to understand it better.
• Stand erect with feet together. Make sure that the heels and the big toes are touching each other.
• Inhale, jump and spread your legs sideways 3½ to 4 feet apart. Lift the knees towards the thighs and move the kneecaps towards the knee joints.
• Move the diaphragm towards the chest and extend both the arms sideways in line with the shoulders. The shoulders move down as the shoulder blades move inwards.
• Turn the entire right leg from the thigh to the foot sideways 90º to the right, left foot turning slightly in to the right while keeping the left leg stretched from inside. Make sure to keep it taut at the knees.
• Exhale. Looking at the right hand, extend the right hand down towards the right big toe along with the trunk. Now stretch the left hand straight up towards the ceiling.
• Exhale and place the right palm about 1 ft away from the right foot by bending at the right knee. Bring the left foot nearer to the right foot.
• Place the left palm over the left hip, stretch the left leg up so that the left leg is parallel to the floor and the right leg is perpendicular to the floor. Turn the chest to the left and establish balance.
• Extend the left arm straight up, fingertips pointing towards the ceiling. Slowly turn the head to look at the left hand.
• Hold the pose for 20 to 30 seconds, breathing deeply and evenly. Then exhale and bend the right leg at the knee, lower the left leg to the ground and come back.
• Repeat the pose with the left side.
Some Useful Tips
• Press the right outer big toe and the inner heel firmly on the floor to remain steady. Turn the right upper arm out and lift it while lifting the left leg.
• Learn to lift the left leg as the right leg is straightened. Synchronize the two actions.
• If one cannot place the palm down on the floor then place the fingertips cup-shaped. If this is also not possible then use a block (or any other support like a book) whose height is about six inches, 12 inches away from the right foot and place the palm on this support. This would help you to lift your right upper arm and also create room for the back to turn.
• If one is unable to balance independently then use the wall to support the whole of the back, the buttocks and the left heel.
• If one cannot feel the opening in the pelvic region or is unable to turn the chest, then stand with the left side of the body facing the wall and bend at the right knee, place the right palm on the block and place only the left foot against the wall and simultaneously straighten the right leg. Place the fingers of the left hand on the left pelvic bone and using this support turn the left shoulder behind, allowing the chest to turn to face the front. The back of the body would be in a straight line when the buttocks are tucked in towards the pelvis.
• Gives relief to a person suffering from cramps both in the pelvic and abdominal regions.
• Beneficial for those whose legs are damaged or infected.
• Tones the lower region of the spine and the nerves connected with the leg muscles as well as strengthening the knees.
• If practiced with other standing poses, it also cures gastric troubles.
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