Half Moon – Ardha Chandrasana

Half Moon (Ardha Chandrasana)

Half Moon:

You can come into Half Moon from any of the Warrior series, but for the purposes of this guide, lets begin in Mountain Pose

  • Step your right foot back (about 3-4 feet) and turn your torso to the right
  • Your back foot (right foot) should be turned to a 90 degree angle, your front foot should point forward to the front of the room
  • Look down at your feet, the heel of your left foot should be in line with the arch of your right foot
  • Inhale and raise your arms so that they are at shoulder height and parallel with floor,  make sure to roll the heads of your arm bones back so that your chest remains open
  • Exhale and bend your front (left) knee until its directly over your ankle, make sure your left knee lines up with your middle left toe
  • Place your left fingertips about 10-12 inches in front of your left foot (note, this might be a great place to use a block, if this is your first time, definitely place the block on the floor in front of you at this distance and place your fingertips on top of the block), and look down towards your left hand
  • Bring your right hand down to your hip, this will help with your balance
  • Inhale, straighten your left leg and simultaneously lift your your inner right thigh up and parallel to the floor, engage the toes of your right foot
  • Find your balance here and if your feeling strong, slowly begin to extend your right arm up above your right shoulder, careful you might get a little wobbly
  • Turn your head to gaze up at your right hand
  • Take a few breaths here (4-5) or whatever you can do

To come out of this pose:

  • Bring your right hand back down to your hip
  • Turn your gaze back down to the floor
  • Exhale and bend your left knee, slowly bring your right leg down behind you

Warrior II – Virabhadrasana II

Warrior II (Virabhadrasana II)

  • Start in Mountain Pose at the front of your mat
  • Step your right foot back (about 3-4 feet) and turn your torso to the right
  • Your back foot (right foot) should be turned to a 90 degree angle, your front foot should point forward to the front of the room
  • Look down at your feet, the heel of your left foot should be in line with the arch of your right foot
  • Inhale and raise your arms so that they are at shoulder height and parallel with floor,  make sure to roll the heads of your arm bones back so that your chest remains open
  • Exhale and bend your front (left) knee until its directly over your ankle
  • To get proper alignment for this pose, make sure your left knee lines up with your middle left toe
  • Turn your head to gaze out over your middle left finger
  • Press all four corners of both feet into the mat and lift the top of your right thigh back and lifting up towards the ceiling to really feel the work in this pose

 

Tall Mountain – Urdhva Hastasana

Tall Mountain (Urdhva Hastasana)

  • Inhale and raise your arms above your head
  • Keep arms straight and shoulder width apart
  • Spread your fingers
  • Extend from your hips all the way up through your fingers to create length

Chair - Utkatasana

Chair (utkatasana)

  • Inhale and raise arms above your head and in line with your ears, palms facing
  • Create length from your fingertips down into your shoulders
  • Exhale, bend your knees as if to sit in a chair until you feel a stretch in tops of your thighs
  • Lightly tuck your tailbone under to draw your naval towards your spine
  • Continue to sink deeper into the pose on your exhales

Monkey - Urdhva Uttanasana

monkey

Monkey (part of forward fold):

  • Inhale and slide your hands up the sides of your legs or front of shins
  • Lift your sit bones up towards the sky to stretch your hamstrings
  • Melt your heart by rolling the heads of your arm bones back and bringing your shoulders blades more into your back
  • Keep your neck long

Downward-Facing Dog – Adho Mukha Svanasana

Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

  • Starting in table with hands directly under your shoulders, fan apart your fingers and press all four corners of your hands into the mat.
  • Bring your knees back about 2 inches behind your hips.
  • Inhale and lift your hips up towards the sky, keeping your knees as wide apart as your ankles.
  • Keep your arms straight, but not locked and draw the muscles up your arms into your shoulders.
  • Draw your shoulders blades onto you back
  • Straighten your legs and press your thighbones back into your hamstrings.
  • Root from your tailbone down through your legs to work on bringing your heels towards the floor.

Warrior 1 – Virabhadrasana I

Warrior 1 (Virabhadrasana I)

  • Start in mountain pose
  • Step your left foot back about 3-4 feet and turn the heel of your left foot in slightly so that your toes face out slightly (about 45 degree angle)
  • Engage the muscles in your legs, exhale and bend your right knee to 90 degrees, so that it is in line with your ankle
  • The right knee cap should be point towards the center of your foot, middle toe
  • Place your hands on your hips and square them to the front of the room by bringing your left hip forward and your right hip back.
  • If you feel off balance here, you may need to adjust either the distance of your stance (feet should be about hips distance apart, maybe a little closer than hip distance) or the placement of your back foot may need to be adjusted so that you raise your heel up.
  • Inhale and extend your arms over head in line with your ears.
  • Be sure to keep your shoulders down and away from your ears and starfish out your fingers to draw muscularly down into your shoulders.
  • Root your tailbone down to create length from your hips down through your legs.
  • Hug and lift the top of your left thigh up towards the sky.
  • Keeping your neck long, gently curl your neck so that your gaze turns up

Mountain Pose – Tadasana

Mountain Pose
Mountain Pose is a lot of work when you really follow each point below. When you come into this pose, you should follow these steps each and every time to get the most out of the pose.

  • Stand with your feet hip distance apart and parallel
  • Line up your middle toes with the front of the mat so that both feet are in a straight line (middle toe to middle of your heel are in one straight line)
  • Lift and spread your toes, balancing out the weight of your body evenly to all four corners of your feet (Ball of Big toe and pinky toe, left and right side of the bottom of your heel)
  • Hug your leg muscles to the bone on all sides
  • Take the tops of your thighs back so that your hips stick out in back.
  • Tuck your tail bone to create length all the way down through your feet
  • Extend from your pelvis up through the top of your head and bring your naval in towards your spine
  • Roll the heads of your arm bones back to lengthen the sides of your body, bring your shoulder blades more into your back.
  • Tip your chin down to create length in your neck and point the crown of your head towards the ceiling
  • Gaze at a fixed point in front of you
  • Relax your face, eyes, jaw and throat
  • Stay in the pose for several full breaths and notice how you feel.