SANSKRIT: Ardha Chandrasana (ar-dha chahn-DRAHS-anna)

DESCRIPTION: From a standing position one leg is straight while the other is extended back parallel to the earth (or a little above parallel) and one hand is on the earth (beyond the little-toe side of the foot, about 12 inches) while the other hand is extended up towards the sky. The shoulder blades are squeezed together and the fingers move outward in opposing directions. The weight of the body is supported mostly by the standing leg while the bottom hand has very little weight on it but is used intelligently to regulate balance. The upper torso is rotated open to the sky. Both hips are externally rotated. Energy is extended actively through the flexed toes to keep the raised leg strong. The inner ankle of the standing foot is lifted strongly upward, as if drawing energy from the earth. The sacrum and scapulae are firmly pressed against the back torso and lengthen the coccyx toward the raised foot. The gaze is either up or down, depending on the condition of the neck. If injured the gaze is down.

BENEFITS: Strengthens the abdomen, ankles, thighs, buttocks and spine. Stretches the groins, hamstrings, calves, shoulders, chest and spine. Improves coordination and sense of balance. Helps relieve stress. Improves digestion.