How to Do Revolved Half Moon Pose in Yoga
Revolved Half Moon Pose is a standing yoga pose that combines the challenge of balancing with the detoxifying benefits of a twist. It's an advanced variation of the pose, Half Moon (Ardha Chandrasana), which builds mental and physical strength.
The Sanskrit name for this pose, "Parivrtta Ardha Chandrasana" (PAHR-ee-VREE-tah ARD-uh chan-DRAHS-uh-nuh), comes from four words:
- “Parivrtta” — meaning “revolved”
- "Ardha" — meaning "half"
- "Chandra" — meaning "moon"
- "Asana" — meaning "pose"
English translations of the name vary, including "Twisting Half Moon," "Half Moon Twist," and others. But no matter what your teacher calls it, you'll gain all of this pose’s benefits when you add it to your practice!
Benefits of Revolved Half Moon Pose
Revolved Half Moon strengthens and stretches the whole body. It builds strength in the ankles, thighs, abdomen, buttocks, and lower back. It also stretches the shoulders, chest, torso, spine, groins, hamstrings, and calves. Additionally, this pose builds stability in the core muscles, including the abdominal muscles, pelvis, and lower back. Regularly practicing Revolved Half Moon will help you develop physical and mental stamina.
Revolved Half Moon also improves your balance, stability, and coordination. It increases body confidence, poise, and courage. Dropping the head below the heart provides relief from stress, anxiety, and fatigue. Twisting the torso around the spine massages and cleanses the digestive organs, which aids in their ability to release toxins and waste matter. Stimulating and toning these organs also improves digestion, elimination, and metabolism.
Do not practice Revolved Half Moon Pose if you have low blood pressure or are currently experiencing headaches, insomnia, or diarrhea. Women who are pregnant should also avoid this pose. Those with neck injuries should not turn their heads to face the top hand (in Steps 3 and 9 of the Instructions, below), but should continue looking straight ahead. Always work within your own range of limits and abilities. If you have any medical concerns, talk with your doctor before practicing yoga.
- Begin in Extended Triangle Pose (Utthita Trikonasana) with your right foot facing forward and your left arm extended toward the ceiling.
- Lower your left hand and rest it on your left hip. Turn your head to look at the floor. Bend your right knee and step your left foot about 6-12 inches closer to your right foot. Place your right hand's fingertips on the floor in front of your right foot. Press firmly into your right hand and right foot.
- Lift your left leg while simultaneously straightening your right leg. Bring your left leg parallel to the floor and reach actively through your left heel. Stack your top hip over your bottom hip, and open your torso to the left. Extend your left arm and reach your fingertips to the sky. Gaze at your left thumb. This is Half Moon Pose (Ardha Chandrasana).
- Turn your gaze back to the floor. Lower your left hip so it’s in line with your right hip. At the same time, bring your left hand to the floor in front of your right foot. Both front hips should now be facing the floor, and your lower back should be flat. Point your left foot’s toes straight down toward the floor.
- Bring your right hand to your right hip. Realign your hips so they are both parallel to the floor. You might need to draw your right hip slightly back.
- Lift strongly through your left leg. Make sure your right foot’s toes and right kneecap are pointing directly toward the top of your mat.
- Extend your spine from the tailbone through the crown of your head.
- Turn your upper torso to the right, twisting around your spine.
- Reach your right arm up toward the ceiling. Turn your head and gaze up at your right thumb.
- Hold for 5-10 breaths. To release, gently bring your right hand back to the floor. Lower your left leg and reach your left arm to the sky, coming back into Extended Triangle Pose. Inhale and press firmly through your left heel as you lift your torso. Lower your arms. Turn to the left, reversing the position of your feet, and repeat for the same length of time on the opposite side.
Modifications & Variations
Revolved Half Moon will stretch and strengthen every muscle in your body when practiced correctly. For those who are new to the pose, it can be challenging to find balance and the correct alignment. Try these changes to find a version of the pose that works best for you:
- For extra support, rest your bottom hand on a yoga block. Begin with the block on its highest side. Gradually lower it to the middle, and then to its lowest height as you gain more confidence.
- To learn the correct extension of the raised leg, press the heel of your raised foot firmly against a wall.
- For a greater challenge, lift your bottom hand away from the floor and place your thumb at your sternum in half prayer position (Anjali Mudra).
Practicing Revolved Half Moon can be rejuvenating and cleansing for your body and mind. Keep the following information in mind when practicing this pose:
- Half Moon Pose (Ardha Chandrasana) provides the foundation for this pose, so it is important to learn its correct alignment. Thoroughly review the iSport’s guide, How to Do Half Moon Pose in Yoga, before practicing this variation.
- Build the pose from the ground up. Stabilize yourself through your standing leg before focusing on the lifted leg and twist.
- Do not lock or hyperextend the knee of your standing leg.
- Maintain an equal balance of energy and effort in both legs.
- Lift equally through the raised leg and the shoulder of the raised arm.
- Keep your shoulderblades and collarbones broad throughout the pose.
- Keep your pelvis neutral and turn your trunk, instead. Think of your hips as the anchor of this pose.
- Keep a straight line through your spine. Do not let your spine round in the pose.
Revolve Your Axis
Revolved Half Moon can add a challenging new twist to your practice! Remember to stay present with the pose, no matter how flexible or strong you are. Don't be afraid to fall, and don't be discouraged if you can't lift your leg very high. Achieving a deep posture is not the goal of yoga! Being calmly aware of the present moment — even if you're falling out of a pose — is the true heart of yoga.