I don’t know about you, but when I’m doing Half Moon (Ardha-Chandrasana) I am nowhere near as sideways as this guy. But even when you’re not this far into the pose, it is by no means easy.
When I first started practicing yoga I went to a CorePower studio that incorporated this pose into their Hot Power Fusion routine every time–and I was never looking forward to it. My arms got tired, I didn’t want to hold my stomach in, and no matter what I did my hips and shoulders would get out of line. And it’s not one of those difficult poses that’s hard to get into but worth it because you look like a badass–like getting into dancer or crow pose–because it also doesn’t look as cool or as hard as it actually is.
So when I started practicing yoga just at home in my room, I surprised myself by regularly including Half Moon in my daily routine. I don’t remember the thought process that lead to the decision, it sort of just naturally worked its way into my sequence after an initial set of Sun Salutations (Surya Namaskar).
While I never really enjoyed the pose, at some point I started to realize just how much of an impact it could have on my practice. I saw a pin on Pinterest with the quote “If it doesn’t challenge you it doesn’t change you” and I immediately thought of this pose. I believe that half moon is likely what helped to tone and strengthen my stomach so much because it was absolutely the pose that was the most challenging for me.
Now when I go to a Bikram studio I am aware every time I walk into the sweltering room that I’m going to have to do Half Moon (and that the instructor is going to make sure I’m not slacking off in it). But I have actually started to look forward to the challenge. I know that no matter how stretchy I get there is no end point in this pose where you can’t go further or where it becomes comfortable–it’s designed to challenge everyone no matter what level they’re at. Which is kind of cool.
I wouldn’t say that I hate this pose anymore, but the love I have for it is definitely in a “I’m excited for a challenge” kind of way that’s propelled by a certain level of dislike for it…