Parivrtta Ardha Chandrasana (Reverse Half Moon Pose)
This challenging variation of Ardha Chandrasana demands even more flexibility and balancing skills in view of the added difficulty introduced by the spinal twist. It is good to be reminded that all balancing yoga postures require a meticulous alignment of the skeleton, proper rooting of the feet, open groins, long hamstrings, flexible back and an effortless approach brought by a thorough preparatory practice.
Stand sideways to a wall with a chair to your right. Have the legs 3 to 4 feet apart and the outer right foot heel pressing against the wall. Turn the left foot out and the right foot well in, as in Parivrtta Trikonasana (Reverse Triangle). Stretch the trunk forward and place the right hand on the seat of the chair
Extend the left hip well back. Turn the right foot round so that the heel rests up the wall. Bend the left leg, always keeping the left hip back
Release the left shoulder back and away from the neck
While straightening the left leg by drawing the thigh muscle in and up, take the right foot up and rest it on the wall with the toes pointing down, the knee opened and the leg parallel to the floor. Make sure that the legs are at right angle with each other
Rotate the trunk from between the shoulder blades. Broaden the abdomen, soften the groins and lengthen the spine. Keep the hips level and parallel to the floor, the knees straight. Extend the left arm up; turn from the trunk and not by throwing the left arm back. Keep the neck in line with the spine and do not throw the head back
Feel the insertion of the femur heads into your pelvis and keep these connections circular. The lift of the abdomen into the lower back combined with the softening of the groins will release the rotating trunk.
Stay in this pose for a few long breaths, going deeper into your balancing twist with each exhalation. Come down while keeping the extension of the trunk forward and of the right leg back as the left knee bends.
Repeat on the other side.
Now that your balance feels secure, you may venture to practise the pose away from the wall. Spread the legs 3 to 4 feet apart. Turn the left foot out and the right foot well in and go into Parivrtta Trikonasana (Reverse Triangle) to the left with the right hand on the floor by the little toe side of the left foot. Keeping the neck in line with the spine, rotate the trunk to the left by taking the right shoulder blade in to the left and the left outer hip in to the right. Extend the arms away Iron each other and keep them in line. Find stability in this pose before
Bend the left knee, lift the right heel and rest on the toes of the right foot. Stretch forward and place the right fingertips ahead and to the right of the left foot. Do not lose the rotation of the trunk. While straightening the left leg and raising the right leg, move the right hand forward until it stands under the right shoulder more or less in line with the left foot. Elongate and rotate the trunk.
- Inner left heel pressing down; outer calf muscle lifted
- Inner top thighs released away from each other
- Left hip extended back
- Do not rest heavily on the right hand but lift the shoulder and hip up
- Left buttock bone stands over the left heel
- Right leg straight
- Keep the trunk straight
- Broad abdomen; belly lifted into lower back
- Turn between the shoulder blades
- Don't block the energy around the joints; rather lift away from the joints in order to free them.
Turn the head and look to the ceiling. Do not allow the upper arm to swing back.
The breath is no longer shallow but should be kept even.
Come out of the pose into Parivrtta Trikonasana.
Repeat on the other side.
As your practice improves and you develop more strength, the foundations of this pose will become more stable and you will be able to understand how balance comes from an internal experience of the space that moves through the joints and not so much from the action of the muscles.
At this stage, all intellectual concepts of alignment will disappear and you will he left to experience a sense of timelessness and grace that emanates from an inner balance and effortless outer stability.