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Crescent Moon Pose (ardha chandrasana)

Standing posture that stretches the sides of your body.

Crescent Moon Pose (or ardha chandrasana) is an energizing pose that opens and stretches the sides of your body. Regular practice of this pose builds core body strength, increases the flexibility of your spine and improves circulation.
As you move into this pose, you should focus on lengthening your body, rather than stretching as far to the side as you can. You may find it helpful to visualize the lengthening of the side of your body from your ankle to your fingertips. To warm up your body before holding Crescent Moon Pose, you can perform the pose by moving from side to side twice.
While holding the pose, keep your shoulders relaxed down and back so that your face, chest and hips are open to the front. You should also make sure that you do not compress the side of your body that your arms are leaning over.
Use caution performing Crescent Moon Pose if you have lower back or shoulder problems.
Begin in Mountain Pose.
Raise your arms to shoulder height at your sides.
Turn your palms to face the ceiling.
Inhale and bring your hands together over your head.
Interlace your fingers and point your index fingers toward the ceiling.
(Your shoulders should be relaxed down and back.)
(Make sure you keep your upper arms beside your ears throughout the pose.)
Inhale and press the soles of your feet into the floor as you extend up through your fingertips.
Exhale and bend from the waist as you lean to the right.
Press your hips gently to the left.
(Make sure you are pressing evenly through both feet.)
Point the crown of your head toward your hands and gaze straight ahead.
Hold the pose for 15 to 30 seconds.
Inhale as you return your torso to an upright position.
Repeat steps 6 to 11 for your other side.
(To come out of the pose, exhale as you bring your arms to your sides.)
How can I reduce the stress on my lower back in this pose?
To reduce the stress on your lower back, begin the pose with your feet slightly further than hip width apart. Also, do not press your hips to the side as described in step 8 above. This modification is also useful for keeping your hips stable in the pose.
I find this pose strains my shoulders. What can I do?
Place your right hand on your right hip and raise your left arm up over your head. Then lean to the right to stretch your left side. Repeat for your other side.
How can I make sure my chest and pelvis are open in this pose?
To ensure your chest and pelvis are open, practice this pose with your shoulder blades and buttocks lightly touching a wall.
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