A regular feature in many Vinyasa Yoga classes, this pose can be a tricky one for most people! The body is not only balancing on one leg, but the hips are externally rotated meaning the glutes have to work even harder to keep you stable. I like to think of this pose as a balancing version of Virabhadrasana 2 (Warrior 2), the body is facing toward the long side of your mat and the front foot is pointing forward toward the short edge, the back leg is extended at the knee and we have a sense of energy travelling down into the back foot.
This pose is not only great for strengthening the ankles and glutes but also the side body (obliques). Don’t be afraid to use a brick in this pose, it can help you to find more length at the waist and assist with opening the rib cage.
Some other variations to try are keeping a bend in the standing leg; this is going to work into those glutes and thigh muscles even more as we engage and try to control this position.
A great prep pose for this asana is to take it down to a kneeling position. Often called Side Gate pose, in this asana our body is almost exactly the same orientation as Half Moon but we have more stability being closer to the floor so we are able to practice keeping the chest open and building strength in the lifted leg.
Trikonasana (Triangle pose) is another beneficial pose to work on as you build up to your Half Moon. In Trikonasana both our feet remain on the floor but we are finding space in our hamstrings and strengthening the side body, two key elements needed for our Half Moon!
For an extra challenge you could try lifting the lower hand completely away from the floor or brick, taking away that extra bit of support! Focus on the breath and don’t worry about any wobbles, they’re all part of your practice!