Half Moon Pose: 5 Common Misalignments

From balancing on one leg to keeping the spine extended and the top leg lifted, a lot is going on in Half Moon Pose.

While the possibilities for aligning complex poses seem endless, I have noticed a few common alignment issues that can be easily corrected with more awareness and integration.

Here are a few common misalignments.

Turned in Foot

Half Moon Pose is difficult to align because, for various reasons, the foot that’s standing tends to rotate inward as you enter the pose.

Instead of trying to straighten the foot you are balancing on, establish the foundation for the pose before transitioning. As you move into Half Moon Pose, focus on pressing all four corners, especially the mound at the end of your big toe. Also, keep the four corners from your right leg facing forward directly over your ankle.

Bottom Hand, Too, Near

Students often place their bottom hand too close to their foot, which is rooted in the ground. This results in a shorter side body and does not allow the full range of motion.

To avoid this, most yoga instructors tell you to place your fingers about three feet ahead of your pinkie. You want to put your fingertips under your shoulder, the distance between your side body and your bottom foot.

The side body is measured from the hip creases up to the armpits. If you are taller or have a long torso, your fingers should be further apart. If you are shorter, your fingers should be closer to your pinkie.

Standing Knee Locking

When you’re standing, your knee can be hyperextended if your leg is locked out.

Your knee should be slightly bent as you place your foot. Engage your quadriceps muscles (the ones above your kneecap) by pressing down firmly through the mound on your big toe. As you re-straighten your leg, move slowly so that you can notice when the muscles are no longer engaged. Keep the top of your calves moving forward while keeping your thigh and thigh joints engaged.

Swinging your hip out

A common misalignment of the right hip is swinging out, bringing the outer edge of the right thigh forward. This can cause a pinching sensation in the side waist or front hip flexors.

Half Moon Pose: To realign your standing leg, bend the knee an inch to the right and push the knee toward the pinkie of your right foot. Pull the hip and outer edge of the standing leg back while keeping the right knee bent.

Banana Back

The top leg will often turn and drift behind the torso. This is called “banana-back.”

Bring your toes on the lifted leg to the wall you are facing. The top leg should be in line with your top hip. If you cannot see your toes, the leg is too far behind. Press your top heel out and lengthen your backbone toward the foot that is standing.

Half Moon Pose is a staple in most yoga classes (especially flow classes). The key is knowing how to correct common alignment errors and the best way to do so.

Half Moon Pose should feel expansive from all angles: across the collarbones, down the bottom leg, and out the top leg. If you’re not feeling radiant (and don’t know what to do), place a block underneath your bottom hand and lift it higher away from the ground.

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