_ssa5705-2A New Year means a chance for you to be stronger, more stable and more centred. The January 2017 pose of the month, ‘Ardha Chandra Chapasana‘, is a beautiful heart opening pose that will help you build strength whilst challenging your balance.

This challenging variation of Half Moon Pose offers both a balancing posture and an asymmetrical backbend. Ardha chandra means Half Moon in Sanskrit, chapasana refers to the bow or arc shape formed by the upper leg when you spine extends into the asana or pose.

In addition increased mindfulness and testing your balance this pose comes with many physical benefits. Ardha Chandra Chapasana builds strength and endurance into your core, legs and feet, which also increases your ability to balance and find your centre. As you stretch through your spine and lift that back leg upwards you will feel a sensational opening through the hips and feel greater length through the spine.

How to practice Ardha Chandra Chapasana

1. Find your way into half moon pose. Start by standing on your right leg, raise your left leg keeping it parallel to the floor and the left arm lifted straight up so that both arms form a straight line. Keep your foot flexed so that the sole is facing the back of the room.

2. Slowly bend your left knee and bring your left arm down to grab a hold your left foot behind. Make sure to grab the ankle and to keep the foot flexed!

4. Begin to draw your left foot toward your body with the left hand. At the same time kick into the hand with your foot to create a push-pull action which will form the bow shape in the spine, creating a back bend and allowing the blood-flow get into the spinal area!

5. Hold for one to five breaths (or more if you really want to test your balance) before releasing the left foot back into half moon position and then to the floor. Move to the other side and don’t forget to smile :-).