[Pose Of the Week] Half Circle Pose (Beginner)

Strengthen your upper body and stretch the chest, ribs, spine, and more with Half Circle Pose…

Half Circle Pose (Ardha Mandalasana) is a beginner-to-intermediate yoga pose that offers a great stretch to the side body, while building strength in the upper body and core muscles. In particular, this side stretch pose stretches the triceps and biceps, as well as the neck, thighs, and rib cage. It also strengthens the abdominal and back muscles, the arms, and the shoulders. The pose is also traditionally believed to activate the thymus gland and stimulate the immune system, and activate the Root, Heart, and Throat chakras. As a heart-opening pose, it may also help to improve lung function.

You may wish to place a folded blanket under the resting knee for extra cushioning. If you have trouble stretching into the full pose, you can also place your resting hand on a yoga block for added elevation. Those with neck issues may keep their gaze forward in the pose rather than looking upward toward the raised hand.

This pose can also be performed in a chair, or modified by remaining on your knees as you stretch just the upper body.

Those with chronic migraines, hernia, or recent surgery or injury to the hips, knees, shoulders, neck, or lower back should avoid this pose.

How to Do Half Circle Pose:

  • Come into a kneeling position on your yoga mat.
  • Stretch your left leg out to the side and place the sole of your foot flat on the floor, toes facing forward. Your left foot should be in line with the right knee.
  • Bring your right hand to the floor, just beside your right knee.
  • Bending your left side of the body, stretch your left arm towards your head with the palm facing the floor.
  • Turn your head to gaze at the left-hand fingers. Extend through the fingers and left foot toe to create the half-circle image on the left side.
  • Keep your hips squared and facing forward along with a straight spine.
  • Stay in this posture for 3-5 deep breaths.
  • To come out, bring the left arm down towards the hips and gently come back to the kneeling position.
  • Repeat on the opposite side.
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