One Pose—Three Ways
Erica Robinson is the owner of Harlem's Asali Yoga. Uniting her background in psychology and education, she received her Hatha/Vinyasa yoga certifications from Laughing Lotus Yoga Center and her Pilates mat certification from Kane School of Core Integration. We here at YogaCity NYC last saw her combine disciplines with her best One Pose navasana/teaser. "My yoga style is creative slow flow sequencing, which focuses on the breath and integral alignment of postures." With her dancer's grace, she demonstrates half moon and all its transitional phases:
YogaCityNYC: What pose did you chose and why do you like it?
Erica Robinson: I like half moon pose, arda chandrasana, because it provides a very open and free feeling for me. It requires a strong core and stable legs to balance, yet as with many asanas there is room to start slow and build up to more advanced variations. This posture also has a vary happy feeling with an open heart (and hip) for me.
YCNYC: Describe the anatomy of the first pose and body parts engaged.
ER: The first variation is what many beginners to the pose will want to practice first. A block is used to bring the floor up a bit to meet your bottom hand. This is great for those who have tighter hamstrings and need that modification. Also, the top hand is on the hip and the gaze is down at the floor which provides stability as one uses this drishti rather than looking up which is a bit harder to balance. The practitioner can really focus on proper alignment of stacking the hip on top of the other and begin the proper vertical stacking of the shoulders as well.
YCNYC: What body parts are engaged in the second pose?
ER: The second variation I love because there is real work with opposition here as we reach in all four directions. Although there is some support provided by the bottom hand, you are really using your core to balance and lifting up through the top arm quite a bit as well. In addition, you are reaching through the back extended foot, as well as through the crown of the head.
YCNYC: What is the overall effect of the third pose on the body, and what does this one add to the understanding of the pose [and mind]?
ER: The third variation, known as arda chandrasana chapasana adds the extra challenge of being an even deeper hip opener and quad stretch as we bend that top leg and hold the foot. There is a slight quality of a backbend here, and it’s also fun to practice balancing with no hand touching the floor, and we can even practice holding the lifted foot with both hands in a deeper back bend. I tend to look down at the floor in this variation, but what a super fun challenge to try and look up!