How to Do the Half Moon Yoga Pose

Half Moon Yoga Pose - Ardha Chandrasana
Ben Goldstein

The half moon yoga pose (Ardha Chandrasana) is a standing, balancing pose that's particularly challenging. Follow these steps, which include modifications to make this pose accessible to beginners, to learn how to do it.


This move strengthens the ankles and thighs, stretches the hamstrings, and improves balance and core strength.


  1. Begin in triangle pose — trikonasana with the right leg forward. Bend your right knee softly and bring your left hand to your hip.
  2. Bring your right hand to the floor in front of your right foot. Your hand should be under your shoulder when you are in the full pose, so in order to set it up in the correct position, place it about a foot in front of and five or six inches to the right of your right foot. Tent your hand so that just your fingertips on the floor.
  3. Begin to straighten your right leg while simultaneously lifting your left foot off the floor. Keep your left leg as straight as possible. 
  4. Open your hips, stacking the left hip point on top of the right hip point. 
  5. Bring your left leg straight and parallel to the floor. Flex your left foot strongly with the toes pointing toward the left side of the room.
  6. When you feel balanced on the right leg, reach the left arm up toward the ceiling, opening the chest and making a straight line with the right and left arms perpendicular to the floor.
  1. Finally, turn your head so that your gaze is lifted toward your upraised left fingertips.
  2. The balance here for around five breaths before releasing the left leg to the floor and repeating the pose on the other side.

Beginners' Tips

  1. Placing a block under the right hand is a good idea for a lot of people. If you have trouble reaching the floor with your right hand, it tends to make the chest rotate toward the floor, which is not the optimal alignment. Giving your hand that extra elevation allows the chest to open toward the ceiling more effectively. 
  2. It's ok if you take several steps in with your left foot before lifting it up instead of one big step as described in step 3 above.
  3. If balancing on one leg is a really big challenge for you, do the pose near a wall and bring your left foot to the wall when you raise the left leg. This is also a good way to practice getting the left leg parallel to the floor.

Advanced Tips

  1. Start to take the weight out of your right hand until just the tip of your middle finger is touching the floor. You can even hover the right hand a few inches off of the floor. If you do this, make sure to keep your alignment solid in the rest of your pose.
  2. Bend your left leg. Reach back and clasp your ankle with your left hand for sugarcane pose.
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