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Asana Happens Behind the Scenes: Inquiry and Experience #10

Note: This is for intermediate students


What draws the viewer’s eye to a yoga pose is the surface. The viewer does not observe the work beneath the surface but if the pose is executed with grace it is because the work beneath the surface is done with integrity.


This is balance through opposition. This is bridging the places in between. This is the bandhas.

Iyengar half moon

Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon) is an excellent posture to demonstrate this lesson.

Assume the posture with your back to the wall and the right foot leading. You will use the wall for support for the back body, including your head. The right foot is a few inches from the wall to accommodate the pelvis.

Bend the right knee until it’s over the ankle and then lift the right knee to lift the right hip. Allow the left leg, the back leg, to rise and stop when you feel resistance. Pulse the back leg and up and down a few inches. Stop and observe.

With the left leg stuck at the point of resistance, lift up vigorously with the right ankle bone to ignite the lift of the knee and then the hip. The buttocks muscles will respond and begin the rotation of the pelvis. The muscles will move to the bones and pull the skeleton to the mid-line. That is the impetus and support that now allows you to raise the back leg higher. Raise the left leg firmly and note the relation between the two legs.

supta 2

Assume the posture Supta Padangusthasana,(Reclining Hand to Foot Pose) with your back on the floor.  Place a belt around the ball of the right foot and raise the leg perpendicular to the floor. Extend the left leg long on the floor.

Place the straps in the right hand, pinch the outer hips in and turn the right leg out. Take the leg a foot to the right and pause. This is Supta Padangusthasana two.

Observe the heaviness of the right leg. Observe the resistance in the right hip. Observe the sensation in the spine. Is it twisting? Has the pelvis come away from the floor on the left side?

Ignite the left side. Make the leg long and sharp and press the heel, the thigh and the hip to the floor. Press the left abdomen to the floor.
Spread the chest wide. Squeeze the outer buttocks to the bone.

Allow the right leg to continue to travel right.  It should travel more clearly. Observe the relation between the two legs.


When asana is done without a strong foundation, the breath will become trapped and the limbs most eager to show will eventually wither and die.