This pose is an obvious extension of Ardha Chandrasana (Half-moon Pose), and is sometimes offered as an advanced variation in mixed-level classes. To come into Ardha Chandra Chapasana, begin in Ardha Chandrasana. With an exhalation, bend the knee of the floating leg and reach back with the top hand to grab the outer edge of the foot. As you inhale, begin to gently press the foot into the hand and revolve the chest up while you relax the shoulders back. Turn the gaze up if you feel steady.
Ardha Chandra Chapasana has been manifesting quite a lot in my home practice this week. I like to practice this pose early in the standing sequence as a preparation for deeper asymmetrical backbends, ala Eka Pada Rajakapotasana variations or Hanumanasana. It's a great opener early in the practice, as it gives my always-tight quadriceps and psoas a much-needed stretch and leaves me with a deep sense of space and expansion.
Ardha Chandra Chapasana Balancing Sequence: This standing sequence will test your balance and strengthen the standing leg as it opens the hips and lengthens the hamstrings.
1. Tadasana (Mountain Pose)
2. Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana A (Extended Hand-to-Foot Pose A)
3. Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana B (Extended Hand-to-Foot Pose B)
4. Parivritta Hasta Padangusthasana (Revolved Hand-to-Foot Pose)
5. Ardha Chandrasana (Half-moon Pose)
6. Ardha Chandra Chapasana (Sugar Cane Pose)
7. Urdhva Prasarita Eka Padasana (Standing Splits)
8. Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Posture/Standing Forward Fold)
9. Repeat steps 1-8, standing on the left leg