Ardha Chandra Chapasana
Ardha = Half · Chandra = Moon · Chapa = Bow · Asana = Pose
Opens your hamstrings, hip flexors, and chest; evokes a sense of freedom and inspires you to stand up for your beliefs
The word chapa refers to the sugarcane stalk the goddess Lalita uses as her bow. Her arrows are flowers, and she has a half moon (ardha chandra) in her hair. For this reason, my teacher Douglas Brooks, PhD, a scholar of Hinduism and the comparative study of religions, named this pose (which is a variation of Ardha Chandrasana) Ardha Chandra Chapasana many years ago. The goddess who holds the bow (chapa) represents every emotional possibility—from pleasant and agreeable to fierce and formidable. Her intricacy is not unlike our own complex nature. Although she may seem sweet and demure with flower arrows and a sugarcane bow, her weapons become sharp and deadly when demons need slaying. All yogis can relate to this need for inner dichotomy:
There are times to be pleasant and agreeable, and times to stand with ferocity and fight for what is right and moral.
Ardha Chandra Chapasana can cause tension in your hamstrings, especially near the muscle attachments at the sitting bones or back of your knee. If your hamstrings feel tight, bring the floor to you by placing a block under your front hand. A cramping sensation in the standing buttock is also common with this pose. If this happens, draw your buttock under and rotate your leg outward, which may help to clear the cramp.
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About Our Pro
Model and teacher Amy Ippoliti aims to bring ancient wisdom to modern yogis, both on and off the mat, while sharing her passion for earth conservation. A pioneer of yoga education, she co-founded 90 Monkeys, an online and in-person school for yoga teachers. Ippoliti has been studying yoga philosophy, vinyasa, and alignment-based asana since she was 16, and she leads trainings and workshops worldwide. Learn more at amyippoliti.com and @amyippoliti.