I like good TV. Good TV usually translates to old TV to me and one of my very favorites is The Honeymooners. It’s old, it’s antiquated, and it’s not always politically correct, but it is classic and it makes me laugh. Ralph is always telling his wife, Alice, that one of these days he’s going to send her to the moon. While this would normally get me up in my soapbox, there’s no need – Alice always gave as good as she got. Still, knowing what her husband, I often think she’d have liked to go to the moon to escape for a bit.
Wouldn’t we all?
While we don’t all have the ability to don a space suit and putt a few rounds up there, we can each make it to the moon any time we want. All it takes is a little balance, a little patience, a little guidance, and a lot of extensional energy. Enter Ardha Chandrasana: Half Moon Pose.
Half Moon looks like a simple asana and, with practice it becomes one, but don’t be fooled -a lot goes into it. It takes balance and coordination and confidence and body awareness and practice. Many people find it challenging because they are going too far too fast too soon. Just like everything, you have to crawl before you walk or, in this case, you have to hover before you can fly.
Here’s a few tips:
- Starting from Adho Muka Svanasa (downward facing dog), step your right foot 1/2 to 3/4 the way up to your hands. This distance will really depend on the length of your torso, but this is a starting point. This leg will be bent.
- Take a breath and feel the connection between the front foot and the earth. Lift up the toes, spread them out, and then lay them back down. Think “Gekko Toes.”
- With both hands still on the ground, start to shift the weight to the front foot, just enough for the back foot to feel light. Work on gently straightening and bending the front knee. You’re not flying up yet, just getting the feel of the balance.
- Take the left hand to your hip. The right hand will be forward and to the right of the right foot.
- Press the ball of your left foot into the earth, extending the energy out the leg. At the same time as you are extending through the left leg, extend through the crown of your head. At this point, keep your gaze down to the ground. Dual extensional energy at work here.
- Continue extending through the crown of the head as you press into the earth with the right foot and let the left foot gently lift off the ground. Keep your right knee bent slightly as you lift and extend.
- With your breath, press into the earth with the right foot as the leg straightens. The right leg works like an elevator for the rest of your body. Now you have Tri-Extensional energy: left foot extends out and slightly up (keep it hip level,) crown of the head extends out in front of you, and the right foot extends into the earth.
- Breathe. Don’t forget to breathe.
- Gently extend the left arm up skyward, keeping the arm in line with the shoulder.
- Only when you feel fully, completely balanced should you consider rolling the left hip open. Take your time. There is no rush.
- The same goes for looking to the side or to the sky. There are no prizes there. If you choose to change your gaze, keep the chin very slightly tucked so that your don’t pinch your cervical spine. Remember: it’s an extension, not a compression.
- To come out of the pose, return the gaze to the floor. Lower the left hand to the ground in line with the right hand, extending out through the fingers. Level the left hip to meet the right and let gravity gently float the left leg back down to the earth.
- repeat on the other side.
It doesn’t take a POW to the kisser to get there. The moon is within reach. Take breath, take a chance, and blast off.