Ardha Chandra Chapasana by Kamala Wilkie
Out my craving for backbends and all things sweet, may I present Sugarcane Pose (Ardha Chandra Chapasana) for all you yogins wanting a more advanced balancing pose to chew on.
Sugarcane is in the Half Moon family. If Half Moon is accessible, why not satiate your sweet tooth and add on this delicious backbend?
But first, some prep for the main course. Half Moon Pose (Ardha Chandrasana), Dancer Pose (Natarajasana) and Bow Pose (Dhanurasana) as well as any quadriceps stretches will help prepare your back and your balance for the robustness of Sugarcane.
If the backs of your legs are tighter, have a block handy close to your standing foot. A strap could be useful if grabbing the foot is inaccessible however, in my experience, the pant leg is a better runner up to the foot.
1. Enter your Half Moon Pose and steady yourself by pressing both legs to straight and scooping your tailbone while gazing at your focal point (drishti) with ravenous determination. (Gaze down is easier, gaze up is harder for balance).
2. Reach back and grab your foot that’s in the air with your free hand. For tighter bodies it’s easier to bring the knee toward the chest in order to grab the foot.
3. Once the foot is caught, stage one. Scoop your tailbone, draw your heel in toward your bum and extend from the front of the top hip out the bent knee while opening your chest skyward. This can be a pretty yummy quad stretch in itself.
Stage two, kick your foot into your hand so your heel moves away from your bum while lifting your chest forward and up, reminiscent of Bow Pose.
To dismount, I like to exit via Half Moon (Ardha Chandrasana), Angle Pose (Parsvakonasana), Warrior 2 (Virabhadrasana 2). Slow and steady.
Why is this nugget of goodness part of my daily practice? Here are some of its nutrients: Sugarcane strengthens and tones the standing leg, works balance and co-ordination and opens the shoulders and quadriceps. Thread it as sequence in Half Moon (Ardha Chandrasana) to Sugarcane (Ardha Chandra Chapasana) to Dancer Pose (Natarajasana) for some added spice.
Kamala Wilkie is a SOYA, ERYT-500 and Anusara-Inspired™ 200hr and 300hr lead trainer for SOYA where she delights in dissecting and making available advanced poses like Sugarcane (amongst other great modules!) Join her at the SOYA 200 hour teacher training immersions each fall, or the spring extended program at