• Clare Collins

The Story of Half Moon Pose – Ardha Chandrasana

I love a great story and in yoga each pose comes with its own story and life lesson, this one being a great one for this season, over the next few months I will give be giving you the story of some of my favourite poses with the help of the book Myths of the Asanas by Alanna Kaivalya and Arjuna van der Kooij an excellent and insightful read and present for anyone interested in learning more.

Ganesh the elephant-headed god is generous and clever but also enjoys everything sweet. Despite his love of sugary foods, he is also a master of yoga, taking after his Father Shiva. Ganesh knows how to balance indulgences and austerities, leaving him with a flexible albeit pudgy, figure.

On one of Ganesh’s exploits he consumed so many sweet cakes that his belly was full to bursting. He headed home on a tiny mouse. Ganesh had to practice extraordinary balance to keep his frame. Suddenly a cobra slithered onto their path and frightened the mouse. Ganesh fell, when he hit the ground, his overstuffed belly exploded and sweet cakes rained everywhere. Ganesh was upset not only with the cobra but also at the loss of the sweet fullness of his tummy. He walked around collecting all the sweet cakes and stuffed them, one by one, back into his belly. Then he picked up the cobra and tied it around his waist.

The moon, Chandra, who was watching the burst into laughter. Ganesh was very upset to be the object of Chandra’s laughter and in a fit of anger broke off his right tusk and hurled it at the moon. Chandra’s light went out. With no night, no dawn and no dusk, love was lost to the world. There was unhappiness.

After a while, Ganesh, convinced by the people, allowed the moon to shine once more, but it would be required to wax and to wane, shining its full potential only once every four weeks. This would be a permanent lesson for the moon.

In yoga we try not to judge others or ourselves. Be aware of judgement over the festive season, notice it, but try not to let it affect you or others.

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