Ardha Chandra Chapasana (Candy Cane Pose aka Sugarcane pose) is a permanent yoga balance pose, and the base pose is a creative practice of Half Moon Pose (Ardha Chandrasana).
|Known as:||Ardha Chandra Chapasana, Candy Cane Pose, Sugarcane Pose, Half Moon Bow Pose|
|Sanskrit name:||Ardha Chandra Chapasana|
|IAST:||ardha chandra chāpāsana|
|Total time:||30 to 60 seconds plus|
|Type:||Standing one-legged balance, backbend, forward bend, twist|
|Focus:||Legs, core, back, hip flexors, hamstrings, shoulders|
|Drishti:||Urdhva or Antara Drishti (up to the sky);|
Padhayoragrai or Padayoragre (toes/feet);
Hastagrai or Hastagre (hands)
|Chakra:||Manipura (solar plexus) Chakra, Anahata (heart) Chakra|
|Indications:||Balance, stability, spine, posture, flexibility, quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, digestive system, elimination, stress, anxiety|
|Counterposes:||Child’s pose (Balasana), Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana), Reclined Bound Angle Pose (Supta Baddha Konasana), Seated Forward Bend (Paschimottanasana)|
|Preparatory poses:||Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana), Low Lunge (Anjaneyasana), Warrior II (Virabhadrasana II), Half Lord of the Fishes Pose (Ardha Matsyendrasana), Standing Half Moon Pose (Ardha Chandrasana)|
|Follow-up poses:||Pigeon Pose (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana), Fish Pose (Matsyasana), Garland Pose (Malasana), Revolved Triangle Pose (Parivrtta Trikonasana), Corpse Pose (Savasana)|
|Contraindications:||Knee or ankle injuries, neck injuries, hip or lower back pain, high blood pressure or low blood pressure, pregnancy|
Ardha Chandra Chapasana is a Sanskrit term that can be broken down into three parts – Ardha + Chandra + Chapa + Asana:
- “Ardha” = “half”
- “Chandra” = “moon”
- “Chapa” = “bow” or “sugar cane”
- “Asana” = “pose” or “posture”
So, the literal translation of Ardha Chandra Chapasana is “half moon sugar cane pose”. The pose is named for its shape, which resembles a half-moon with the body curved and extended like a sugar cane.
This pose combines elements of two other yoga postures – Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon Pose) and Urdhva Dhanurasana (Upward Bow Pose or Wheel Pose) – to create a challenging and dynamic posture that requires strength, flexibility, and balance.
The English term “Candy Cane Pose” is a modern nickname given to this posture due to the way the lifted leg resembles a candy cane shape.
And according to the name, the semi-lunar chapasana adds a bow formation to the base posture. Apart from chapasana most likely comes from chap, meaning chap or bow, your spine in the form of upper body shape and raised leg. This pose can be used in an order to increase leg strength, balance, or quadriceps.
Warm up and Preparatory Poses
The key to finding it more easily in this challenging posture lies in properly heating the body, and is certainly a consistent practice. After going through a few rounds of Surya Namaskar, I like to deepen my warm-up with the following pose before going to Chapasana.
- Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana): This pose helps to stretch the hamstrings, calves, and lower back, which can help to prepare the body for the deep backbend in Ardha Chandra Chapasana.
- Low Lunge (Anjaneyasana): This pose helps to stretch the hip flexors and quadriceps, which can help to prepare the legs for the balancing aspect of Ardha Chandra Chapasana.
- Warrior II (Virabhadrasana II): This pose helps to strengthen the legs and hips while also opening the chest and shoulders, which can help to prepare the body for the twisting aspect of Ardha Chandra Chapasana.
- Half Lord of the Fishes Pose (Ardha Matsyendrasana): This pose helps to stretch the spine and twist the torso, which can help to prepare the body for the deep twist in Ardha Chandra Chapasana.
- Standing Half Moon Pose (Ardha Chandrasana): This pose helps to improve balance and stability, which can be beneficial when practicing Ardha Chandra Chapasana.
Step-by-step instructions to Ardha Chandra Chapasana (Candy Cane Pose)
- Begin standing at the top of your mat in Mountain pose, or Tadasana.
- On an exhale, step your right foot forward and step backward your left foot, about 3 to 4 feet (depending on the length of your legs and the level of openness in your hips).
- Lean forward to go for standing Half Moon Pose, standing on your right leg with the left leg parallel to the floor and the left arm lifted straight up.
- Bend your left knee and release your left hand behind your left hand to hold the top of your left foot.
- Keep your left thigh approximately parallel to the floor. This is fine if the thigh lifts slightly, but lifting the leg is not the primary goal of the pose.
- Stretch your left leg towards your body with your left hand, but at the same time press your hand with your foot. This push-pull action creates a bow shape in the spine, changing the posture to the backbend.
- Hold for one to five breaths before releasing the left leg back into the half moon position.
- Return the left foot to the floor and try on the other side.
Avoid any posture if you have any injury to your:
- lower back.
As an equilibrium pose, this may not be appropriate during pregnancy.
Avoid these errors to urge the foremost out of this pose and stop injury:
- The most important part of this mudra is to keep your chest open towards the ceiling in the same way as it is in the half moon. If you can hold your left leg but it causes your chest to rotate towards the floor, you have lost the base of the posture and will likely be unable to locate the backbend.
- Do not lock or hyperextend the knee of the standing leg. Keep it just a touch soft without bending the knee.
Ardha Chandra Chapasana variations with base pose
As yogis have different abilities, the pose of a given sum may be easier for a particular beginners but harder for another.
In such cases, as a yoga instructor, you can introduce posture variations to challenge a yogi who is looking for a specific yoga pose easier, or for easy change of posture for the yogis who is finding the main pose difficult.
Therefore, variations can help the yogis to become more confident in their yoga practice, no matter the beginners level. And this is where your role as a yoga instructor becomes very important.
Follow-up poses are postures that can be practiced after Ardha Chandra Chapasana to help release any tension or tightness that may have accumulated in the body during the practice, as well as to continue the benefits of the pose. Some follow-up poses that can be practiced after Ardha Chandra Chapasana include:
- Pigeon Pose (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana): This pose helps to stretch the hips and thighs, which can be beneficial after practicing Ardha Chandra Chapasana.
- Fish Pose (Matsyasana): This pose can help to counteract the deep backbend in Ardha Chandra Chapasana by opening the chest and releasing tension in the neck and shoulders.
- Garland Pose (Malasana): This pose can help to stretch the hips, groin, and lower back while also improving flexibility in the ankles and knees.
- Revolved Triangle Pose (Parivrtta Trikonasana): This pose helps to continue the twisting action of Ardha Chandra Chapasana, which can be beneficial for the digestive system and overall spinal health.
- Corpse Pose (Savasana): This pose is a relaxing and restorative pose that can help to promote relaxation and reduce stress after practicing Ardha Chandra Chapasana.
Benefits of Ardha Chandra Chapasana
- Unlocks your hamstrings
- Extends the hip flexors
- Strengthens the ankles
- Creates a sense of freedom and inspires you to stand up for your beliefs.
The posture gradually invites openness in the ribase and abdominal muscles, lengthens the spine, and helps improve focus, balance, and coordination.
The whole body gathers in your pelvis: you pull all the power from your pelvis and with your feet and hands into the pelvis and pull away from your pelvis.
This pose encourages you to get on the ground through your bones and focuses your attention in creating balance, it opens your chest and expands your lungs, heart, and abdomen. The muscles in your back are engaged to form a beautiful arch and are strong. Your head is carried by your strong neck muscles, and the fascial lines are open in your arms.
Precautions and contraindications
Ardha Chandra Chapasana is a relatively advanced yoga pose that requires a certain level of flexibility, strength, and balance. As with any yoga pose, there are certain precautions and contraindications that should be taken into consideration to avoid injury or strain. Here are some precautions and contraindications of Ardha Chandra Chapasana:
- Knee or ankle injuries: This pose requires a deep bend in the knee and a strong flexion in the ankle, which can be challenging for those with knee or ankle injuries. It is important to modify or avoid the pose if it causes pain or discomfort in these areas.
- Hip or lower back pain: The deep backbend in Ardha Chandra Chapasana can put pressure on the lower back and hips, which can exacerbate pain or discomfort in these areas. It is important to use props or modify the pose to avoid straining these areas.
- High or low blood pressure: This pose can cause a sudden drop in blood pressure, which can be dangerous for those with high blood pressure or low blood pressure. It is important to move slowly and mindfully into the pose, and to avoid holding the pose for too long.
- Pregnancy: This pose can be challenging and uncomfortable for pregnant women, especially in the third trimester. It is important to modify or avoid the pose if it causes discomfort or strain.
- Neck injuries: The deep twist in Ardha Chandra Chapasana can put pressure on the neck, which can be challenging for those with neck injuries or sensitivity. It is important to move mindfully into the pose and to use props or modify the pose if necessary.