Stretch, strengthen and find your balance with these two standing poses – Trikonasana into Ardha Chandrasana
Trikonasana (Triangle Pose) stretches and strengthens the calves, thighs, hamstrings, hips groin and waist. When we travel that into an Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon Pose), we help to bring the strengthening aspect into thighs, abdomen and buttocks. At the same time we still bring a stretch to the calves, hamstrings, chest and spine. Ardha Chandrasana is great for improving your sense of balance and both are said to help relieve symptoms of stress. With all of the benefits, the only reason not to practice these would be if an injury / illness is getting in the way!
Sinead is displaying how to practice these poses below using a brick. When you first start practicing in class and at home, it’s good to start with props and move on when your body feels more adapted and comfortable.
If you suffer from any groin or inner thigh/adductor injuries make sure you practice this pose with caution! Perhaps skip this pose if you feel any pain, or keep the front leg bent throughout both poses.
Step by Step Guide
Starting in Tadasana, step back with your left foot and land it about a leg length’s distance behind (which isn’t as far as we normally think!). Keep your right toes pointing to the front of the room and turn your left toes so that they face either the side of the room, or are turned in at 45 degrees. Have your hips and chest parallel to the side of the room.
With an inhale, raise your arms to shoulder height and reach in both directions. Strengthen the legs to keep them stable, making sure not to lock the knee joint backwards. As you exhale start to drop your right hip as you reach forwards with your right hand. Once your hip stops dropping, let your right hand reach down to either the inside of your shin, a brick, or the floor. It’s not a race to the floor so let your hand land wherever feels good.
Inhale to lengthen your breastbone to the front of the room and exhale to turn your right ribs out from underneath the left, getting a small rotation in the spine as you open your hips and chest to the side of the room. If your neck feels comfortable you can look up to your left fingertips, however if you have any neck pain/discomfort/injuries, you can always look to the side of the room or the floor.
Stay here for 6 breaths or longer. Every time you inhale, try to think of bringing length to your torso and spine. Each time you exhale keep strength and stability in your legs and core any maybe bringing a subtle hint of more twist to your pose.
To come out of this pose, lift your torso back to upright and step your back leg forwards to come to Tadasana.
From Trikonasana, exhale and bring your left hand to your left hip. Bending your right knee, place your hand on a brick about 10 inches in front of your right foot and start to walk your left leg forwards and bring all your weight through to your front foot.
Inhale to lift your left leg in line with your hips as you straighten the right leg (not locking the knee backwards). Keep the standing leg strong and stable as you start to stack your left hip on top of your right, opening your chest and hip to the side of the room.
If you feel comfortable here, you can raise your left hand and look upwards. If your neck hurts you can look to the side instead. Press your sacrum firmly towards your front so that your hips don’t fall back and create too much extension in your lower back.
Stay here for 6 breaths, keeping the legs strong and the core stable. If you fall out, don’t worry you can come back into it. You might be a bit wobbly to begin with.
To come out of the pose, land both feet together and come to Tadasana.