Work on balance, strength and alignment with this week’s pose

Katrina Owens
Lakeside Leader

Lori Whitby of Slave Lake Smiling Dog Yoga says to start at the top of your mat for ‘balancing half moon’ pose.
“Keep the left foot pointing straight out the front of your mat as you turn your upper body to the right and step your right foot a few feet back,” she says. “Reach the arms out parallel to the floor or place them on your hips as you shift your weight onto the left (front) foot. Once you’re steady on the front leg, slowly lift the back leg up as far as you feel comfortable but no higher than your hips.”
Whitby adds, “Be careful not to lock the standing leg’s knee and keep the head in line with the spine. Don’t forget to breathe and try to keep your front foot’s toes and kneecap facing the direction of your head. Work to keep your hips stacked one on top of another as you open your torso. If you’re feeling balanced, gently turn your head and gaze out to the side or up towards your right thumb. Hold for three-to-12 breaths and release with an exhale as you lower the right leg. Switch sides.”
Modifications and props:
Place your bottom hand on a yoga block or a chair (a coffee table works great too!) if you want extra support. Place your top hand on the hip for better control while moving into the position and extending the arm once you feel balanced.
Beginner’s tip:
Practice this pose against a wall, to learn the alignment needed and build up strength to balance.
Work to keep both shoulder blades and your buttocks touching the wall.
Benefits:
Balance, strength and is great for alignment.
Make it more challenging:
Keep the bottom hand over your heart and balance with only the front leg.

One of Smiling Dog’s newest teacher trainees Karen in balancing half moon pose.

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