Bal­anc­ing act

Yoga Journal - - YOGAPEDIA -

The word chapa refers to the sug­ar­cane stalk that the god­dess Lalita uses as her bow. Her ar­rows are flow­ers, and she has a half moon (ardha chan­dra) in her hair. For this rea­son, my teacher Dou­glas Brooks, PhD, a scholar of Hin­duism and the com­par­a­tive study of re­li­gions, named this pose (which is a vari­a­tion of Ardha Chan­drasana) Ardha Chan­dra Cha­pasana many years ago. The god­dess who holds the bow (chapa) rep­re­sents ev­ery emo­tional pos­si­bil­ity—from pleas­ant and agree­able to fierce and for­mi­da­ble. Her in­tri­cacy is not un­like our own com­plex na­ture. Al­though she may seem sweet and de­mure with flower ar­rows and a sug­ar­cane bow, her weapons be­come sharp and deadly when de­mons need slay­ing. Yo­gis can re­late to this need for in­ner di­chotomy: There are times to be pleas­ant and agree­able, and times to stand with fe­roc­ity and fight for what is right and moral.

When your hand has made a con­nec­tion with the top of your right foot, hold firmly and swing your knee back be­hind you. To fully open the pose, kick your right foot into your hand as though you’re try­ing to straighten your leg. With­out let­ting your right hip pop for­ward, draw your left but­tock un­der. Be sure your bent (right) thigh stays in line with your torso so you do not over­work your outer or in­ner thigh mus­cles. Hold here for 3–5 breaths. To come out, re­lease your foot and place your right hand on your hip, bend your stand­ing leg, pow­er­fully reach through your back leg, and place your right foot on the floor, re­turn­ing to Parsvakonasana. Re­peat on the other side.

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