We only have a few days in the seriously cool city that is Kuala Lumpur. Which is a shame, but in this heat cities aren’t great for the body or mind. Strolling through the striking skyscrapers that soared up to the clouds (on a cloudy day!) was mesmerising, so much so that occasionally we’d forget to look down and around us, at the smiling and eager to help locals. Coming from Vietnam it feels so different. Drivers stopping whenever and however to allow you to safely cross the road. It’s incredibly clean and pushing eco friendly everything. English seems to be spoken everywhere, which I have to admit, although we do love the challenge of learning different languages, has been a nice relief.
Finally the variety of race, culture and religious beliefs is incredible. Walking down the street and stumbling across embellished mosques, colourful temples, and beautiful churches, all lined up only a few metres from one and other. The smell of food coming from Chinatown assaults your senses. Noodles then curry, meat then fish. Roasted chestnuts to fresh fruit and finally the all American cheeseburger. Whatever you need, I’m telling you, Kuala Lumpur has it! We even found Asia’s best climbing wall – it had to be done. One thing I should let you know about this city however is… Western toilets are rare! You really need to master the squat toilet.
So on that note, here’s half moon pose or Ardha Chandrasana. Such a great pose for improving your squatting technique. On a more serious note, half moon pose is great for your digestive system. It also strengthens your ankles, thighs and bottom, as well as opening your shoulders and back.
Not that I’m a real promotor of props, purely because I’ve never used them, but a block or pile of books can come in handy for this asana. If you’re more comfortable with this posture you can flow into it from triangle pose or warrior 2. Alternatively come to the front of your mat keeping the left foot facing forwards. Start with the leg bent (or straight if your hamstrings are more open). Begin to lower your left hand down to your block, books or floor just a little in front of your left foot. Next, physically, with your right hand, turn your right hip out. Imagine your hips stacking on top of one another. Pull your left thigh up and anchor your heel down to the ground to give you stability.
To start with try not to focus on how high your right leg is going. Focus on your chest being open, as you spread the fingers of your right hand and imagine it being pulled to the sky. Keep the right shoulder away from the ear. Lift the right leg whilst avoiding the chest collapsing in. Keep the strength and energy in your right leg, moving all the way from the top of your thigh through to your heel.
Depending on how your balance is doing and how your neck is, keep the gaze down on the floor. Next you can bring the gaze forward. Finally, and a little tricky in my opinion, bring your gaze up to your right hand. Hold for a few breaths. Always repeat on the opposite side.
A little personal “tip” which helped me to achieve this pose, which is a personal thing and wouldn’t advise if you have weak or sore knees. I struggled to find my balance for a while in half moon pose, however I found that bringing my weight further over on to the ball of my left foot (or whichever foot is grounded) helped a lot. I do however, think this can affect the knees if it’s a vulnerable area, so be careful and keep your grounded leg slightly bent if knees are an issue.
I wish there was an asana called total eclipse for me to follow with. There isn’t. Sorry. Enjoy this though! Grace xxx