Half Moon Pose

Half moon pose Bikram Yoga

I have to admit this was my least favourite of all the postures.  I used to dread it but once it was over I was Ok!  Now I love this posture and in later posts I may be able to explain why I had a change of heart (and experience).   The half moon (side stretch) part of the posture is great for slimming the waist line, hips, abdomen and buttocks. The feeling of the stretch can be quite intense and while that is going on, the internal organs are getting stimulated by the compression on the other side of the body.  Nothing is ever wasted in a Bikram posture that is for sure!  

The back bend can be challenging for some due to the fear of just letting yourself go back.  If you solidify your base by pushing the hips forward slightly and keeping the weight on the heels at the same time, this will give you a lot more confidence that you can safely go back.  Remember to lift up out of the waist first, then drop your head back and then let your raised arms lead you backwards.  Ideally your arms should stay with the sides of the head but I have to admit I have never yet been able to manage that bit!

Once you are back upright, it’s time to slowly bend over from the waist and grab the heels from behind to get the best grip possible.  By pulling on the heels and keeping your body glued to the legs, the aim here is to eventually straighten the legs so basically you are bent in half like a piece of cardboard!  

After coming out of this mammoth posture you will feel so refreshed with all that new oxygenated blood flowing around the body.  

Other tips:

  • Pay attention to the details as they always help you in the posture and actually make it easier.  
  • In the first part of the pose, with your arms overhead, the palms of the hands should be glued throughout right to the wrist, the elbows should be locked and the arms should be glued to the head.   This will give you more strength.  
  • Always lift up out of the waist and during the side stretches and try and keep your hips level. The weight should be on your heels.  There is a tendency to lift  one of the heels but work at keeping those heels on the floor.
  • Keep your chin up, and chest open. 
  • Keeping your eyes on one spot will aid with concentration in the hold as this can feel like a long posture!
  • Relax as you do the back bend after making sure you have your safe base as mentioned in the main text of this post.  Keep your eyes open.
  • With the front bend, relax the coccyx, and wiggle your hips for a few moments before you aim to grab the heels.  You will need to bend your knees for this!
  • Ensure your upper body is glued to your legs throughout even if you have to really bend your knees in order to get hold of your heels.  The posture is lost if you separate your body from the legs and you will not gain any benefit.
  • Try and get your elbows behind the legs while you grip the heels from behind – not so easy but give it a go!
  • Enjoy the relaxation after this hard working pose!  Basically your whole body has just had a major workout – inside and out!
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