ardhachandrasanaWelcome to a new series brought to you by the MSY teachers!  Each of our teachers offer a different flavor to their classes and when a student (as we are all students) are working on different postures-it can be nice to get a few perspectives to feel reassurance we are moving in the correct direction.

This round-table is set-up for anyone to read and gain a better understanding of a posture-whether you use it at home or in a class. I recommend you read each teacher’s description and try to feel what each teacher is communicating.  Maybe it reaffirms the work you’re putting in-maybe it helps clarify a question you have within a posture.

This week’s question: What is some cuing you use to take someone into Ardhachandrasana?

Lisa: If arching to the right, imagine a beach ball is resting on your right hip and you are lengthening over the ball.  This prevents collapsing and creates more length through the side body.

Sarah: Keeping your body in a single plane and paying attention to your hips and chest shifting-imagine you are between two planes of glass. And, really extend up from the opposite hip through the reaching fingertips and keep the tailbone tucked so core can engage.  And breathe.  THE hardest part!

Karen: Grounding through your feet, hip distance apart, toes spread wide.  Reach your arms to the ceiling, clasping your hands together in a steeple grip.  Stretch up through your side bodies before bending to the right.  As you bend to the right imagine rounding over a beach ball.  Keeping your triceps by your ears and your shoulders plugged into your sockets, look up to the ceiling under your left arm.

Jenny: For those challenged in the area of the shoulders, fingertips can rest on top of shoulders or hands on hips.  Lift evenly through both sides of the body before lifting ‘up and over’ to one side.  Feet a bit wider than hip width.  Weight in feet shifts to one side then to both feet when in the posture.  Try keeping both sides of the torso long as you lift back to center.

Pam: Grounding at all 4 corners of the feet, lifting all the toes and spreading them wide, lowering the big toe, then the baby toe, followed by the rest of the toes. Engage the core, chest lifted, shoulders rolled back away from the ears, chin away from the chest. Now bringing hands to heart center take a nice deep inhale bringing fingertips up to kiss, interlacing all 10 fingers, pointing up with the index finger if you wish, stretching up evenly through your center,  elbows plugged in next to the ears, begin to bend to the right. Only come as far as your level of flexibility will take you, then if you wish, you can take your drishti (focal point) up towards the left ceiling, but if you have any neck issues, keep your gaze forward. Keeping your torso lifted, return back center, and repeat on the opposite side.

David: Two tendencies in the pose to mention: 1. When going to the right, for example, the left foot may tend to lift. Grounding it helps to lengthen the body. 2. Most bodies want to extend into back bending along with the side bending. By keeping the rib cage down and the head and arms slightly more forward, a nice lengthening can occur. 

Olivia: Make sure you stand with equal weight on BOTH feet. Engage uddiyana AND mula bandhas (squeeze your belly and your pelvic core) and if your neck gets tired, you can rest it on your arms! 

Nell: Stand in mountain or little wider. Reach up not only w/arms but whole body to feel the stretch as you lengthen first to right then to left. Keep shoulders out of ears by engaging back. Shoulder blades are tucked together and pulled down. At same time lift heart.

Carmen: In my own body, as I’m doing ardhachandrasana, I look for a few different sensations…First, if I start to feel compression, whcih can quickly become an ache in my lower back, I know I’m not engaging my core and I will draw my tailbone down and pull my navel in to engage.  Next, I imagine that I’m creating a triangle shape with my body, I know the pose is named after (basically) the crescent moon, but to me-I think about the bottoms of my feet, my outside hip and the tips of my fingers being the 3 points of a triangle and stretching them as far apart from each other as possible. Finally, I bring attention to my heart and subtly rotate it to the sky to add sensation and challenge.
Bonus tip: If your body is feeling really tight, try gently rocking the torso side to side with hands on the hips to ‘prime’ the body for lateral flexion.
Have a good tip?  Share in the comments below!