Crescent Moon Pose is like a breath of fresh air for your spine.

The next time you feel stuck, stuck, or a little stiff, reach out and lean to the side to do a crescent moon pose. This yogic stretch is very simple to do, but it makes all the difference when it comes to how you feel.

Crescent Moon Pose, also called urdhva hastasana, is a standing yoga pose that involves reaching up and leaning to the side, says Zapporah Turner, a certified yoga teacher and instructor at CorePower Yoga in San Francisco. On the waxing moon, you’ll really focus on lengthening your bottom half while opening up and extending your top half, she tells Bustle. It’s also a great spinal stretch that stimulates circulation.

By leaning to one side and essentially turning into a crescent moon shape, you’ll get a stretch in your side along with an activation in your obliques. You’ll feel a sensation of deep stretching in your arms and shoulders, says Turner, as well as your quadriceps, outer hips, and hip flexors. Meanwhile, as you push your feet down, you will notice a feeling of grounding. If you wish, you can even add a small backbend to stretch your chest and open your heart chakra for an extra boost of energy.

According to Turner, the crescent moon is one of the fundamental poses in yoga. This pose is similar to Mountain Pose in its activation, except it leans from side to side, which emphasizes a deeper side stretch, she says. Do this at your desk, while traveling, or whenever you need to reset. Here’s what you should know about crescent moon pose, including how to try it.

How to do Crescent Moon Pose

Here, Turner explains how to lean into crescent moon pose.

– Stand with your feet hip-width apart.

– Plant your feet firmly, gripping the floor with your toes.

– Stand tall and roll your shoulders back so they are stacked over your hips in a long line.

– Extend your arms towards the sky.

– Press your palms together or interlock your fingers, leaving your index fingers out.

– Exhale and extend both hands to the right, slightly compressing the right side of the body.

– Feel a stretch in the muscles on the left side, such as obliques, outer hips and quadriceps.

– Hold for at least two breaths.

– Inhale and return to center.

– Repeat on the other side stretching upwards and to the left.

How to Modify Crescent Moon Pose

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To make this pose easier on your arms, it’s okay to lean to the side without reaching over. Instead, Turner suggests keeping your hands at heart level or placing them on your hips while using your core to bend your upper body. These modifications will alleviate any strain or challenge caused by the deep stretching that occurs in the upper half of the body, she says.

For the lower half, feel free to keep your knees slightly bent or lie down on the mat, kneeling or sitting with your legs crossed in front of you and both glutes firmly planted on the floor. Just be sure to switch which legs you cross when bending right and left, adds Turner. When you reach the right, cross your right leg over it and vice versa.

You can also make a crescent moon on a chair, which will come in handy at work. Keep your feet on the floor to make sure you’re stretching both hips evenly, says Turner. The goal is to find the same sensation on each side of the body that you would have when standing up.

To add a little extra to your crescent moon pose, incorporate a back bend for a balance challenge. You can rotate your chest further toward the front of the room and lean back slightly to find more opening for your heart, she says. One tip that helps with this is to imagine that a rope is pulling your heart to the ceiling.

It may also be good to look in the direction you’re leaning for a more dynamic, intense stretch, or look up at the ceiling as another way to challenge your stability, says Turner. You can also use your bottom hand to grab your top wrist and gently pull it as you bend for a deeper stretch.

Common Waxing Moon Mistakes to Avoid

Because the crescent moon seems like such a simple pose, it’s easy to slip through the motion without paying much attention to the muscles you’re stretching, says Turner. Instead of running, try moving slowly while focusing on your breathing.

Alignment is also key. Make sure your body is stacked from ankles to shoulders so you can stretch safely and make the most of the movement. Without good posture, Turner says you won’t feel much of a stretch.

As a final touch to ensure you’re fully grounded and to activate all your muscles, imagine your energy is flowing down toward your feet, says Turner. This will root you into the mat so you can lean to the side and reap the full benefits of the pose.


Zapporah Turner, certified yoga teacher and instructor at CorePower Yoga in San Francisco

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