Good Form: Two phases of the half moon

Half Moon yoga pose

This classic yoga pose is excellent for stretching your back and hip muscles. (Charles Bush)

This classic yoga pose, called half moon, is excellent for stretching your back and hip muscles. It also strengthens your legs and ankles while helping you develop balance. At first you might need to use a yoga block under your hand, but as soon as you get more limber and feel stable enough, you can rest your fingers on the floor and straighten your bottom leg.

With a yoga block, stand upright with the block in front of you, hands on your hips. Bend your right knee and place your right hand on the yoga block approximately 1 foot in front and slightly to the right of your right foot. Shift your weight onto your right foot as you slowly raise your left leg up to hip level. Your left knee and toes should be turned out, and your shin should be parallel to the floor. Pause for three to six breaths. Lower your left leg, stand and repeat on the other side.

Without the block, stand upright to begin. Bend your right knee and place your right hand on the floor approximately 1 foot in front of you and slightly to the right of your right foot. Shift your weight onto your right foot as you slowly raise your left leg up to hip level. Straighten your right leg. Turn your left thigh, knee and toes outward, shin parallel to the floor. Reach your left arm above your left shoulder. Pause for three to six breaths. Bend your right knee and lower your left leg. Stand and repeat on the other side.

Voight is the creator of a line of fitness DVDs, including "Sleek Essentials."

karen@karenvoight.com
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