Benefits and Uses
Half Moon pose stretches the upper body and strengthens the core. It also lengthens and aligns the spine. The pose is great as a warm-up, in order to prepare the back for deeper stretching and posture work.
Stand on your mat with your feet parallel and together. Strengthen your legs by pressing your weight into the ground and simultaneously reaching upward with your thigh muscles. Contract these muscles without locking in the knees. Tuck your tailbone slightly as you engage the abdomen to protect the lower back. Lift your arms overhead in a way that is comfortable (and not straining) for you. Reach your shoulder blades away from your ears. Slowly bend to one side, feeling the lateral stretch in your body and the simultaneous strengthening of your abdomen. Breathe deeply as you hold the pose for a few rounds. Slowly return to center and repeat on the other side.
- Breath: Use ujjayi breath to help you breathe fully in this pose. Breathing during lateral bends can sometimes be a bit more challenging due to the increased pressure on the diaphragm. Coordinate slow breaths with your movements.
- Modifications: If back sensitivity is an issue, stand with your feet hips width apart instead of touching. You may also keep your palms separated if you have any shoulder pain or difficulty achieving a full range of motion. Keeping your arms bent and hands at your hips is also an option for those in need of extra shoulder care. Feel free to sit if this is more comfortable at your stage in pregnancy.
- Release: Return to center after completing both sides and exhale your arms back by your sides. Shake out your arms and legs and move on to the next pose.