Yoga for Our Nature Artwork
Season 5 - Episode 4

Half Moon Adventure

30 min - Practice


Let you mind and body bathe in cool, centering lunar energy. Melina guides us towards Half Moon in this creative Nature-inspired practice. We loosen the hip joints and warm the core in an opening floor sequence before exploring Half Moon shapes, challenging our strength, stability, and balance while maintaining a calm center. We release the hips and legs, and close in a seated meditation and alternate nostril breathing practice. You will feel grounded, focused, and centered.
What You'll Need: Mat, Blanket, Block


Read Full Transcript

Hello everyone, welcome to our next adventure here on our Reaching New Heights. Today we'll be focusing on the Pose Half Moon. And for our adventure today, it'd be helpful if you had a blanket and a block. And I'm using my block to do the first seat, which is Virasana, where you might have your block in the medium position for some extra height to ease into the pose if your knees or ankles are a little bit tight. The blanket underneath your knees is nice for some padding.

If that's not your favorite position to begin with, please sit in a chair or cross-legged position. When your props are in the right place, let's go ahead and rest your hands face down on your legs as a gesture to help ground your legs towards the earth. And play around with your pelvis tilting forward and back until you feel like you're in a neutral position as if you were standing in mountain pose. And then if we slow down that movement, but still encourage a little sway and movement in your spine so your spine stays soft and supple as we sit for a few moments, eyes might start to turn inward or find a focal point somewhere up beyond your nose to help you anchor your attention into this moment, into the room, into your body. And as the physical body is a little bit more stable here, see if we can bring a little bit awareness to how our breath feels as it comes into our body.

And as the breath comes in and moves down towards your chest and your diaphragm and your belly, just noticing where you feel some expansion or new space, front to back. And exhale letting your awareness move from that outer physical body towards the more energetic body, the breath body as you exhale, toward what we might refer to as your center. And then we try to radiate out as we inhale from that center line back up towards your muscles, your skin. And as you exhale coming into that more cool, calm place, the end of the exhale towards the center of your body. So finding that nice balance between being out towards the more muscular physical body and also paying attention as you exhale to that more subtle, hidden, cool place within, maybe ruled by more of the lunar energy.

Exhale expanding out towards the skin, muscles, maybe we feel a little bit more connected to that solar energy as we expand out and toward that lunar energy as we move inward. One more moment is observing in that pull towards solar energy as your awareness expands out. Feel into that lunar energy as our energy moves inward. Anytime you're ready, let's start to open the eyes if they closed and whatever you might be sitting on, let's lift that out of the way so you can transfer to your tabletop position. I'm going to keep using padding for under my knees blanket about the center of the sticky map and as soon as the knees come to the blanket, let's go ahead and slide your knees about as wide as your blanket.

Bring your big toes to touch behind you and with your elbows on the floor, as wide as your shoulders, send your hips back as far as you're comfortable towards your feet. So a wide knee child's pose. Some of you might stack your hands to have a little pillow for your forehead or maybe you make little fists like little potatoes and stack your forehead on your stacked hands or some variation of that. If your knees are tight, your hips will typically be more forward and you might dive into a little bit of a deeper chest shoulder stretch. So take a moment as we're facing down, hips moving towards the feet and just send a little bit more of your awareness towards your hips, towards your legs.

And as we exhale again, feeling that belly moving in toward the back, awareness moving in towards your center line, the softening of belly on the inhale, moving in and up of belly on exhale. Let's lift the head up, bring your hands in front of you so we can tip forward and now bring your legs parallel and then your knees almost to touch. Drop your elbows and forearms to the floor, palms pressed together. Let's lift your left knee up into the air, keep your left leg bent. With your left leg bent, start to draw a circle with your left knee out to your side while looking down between your wrist or your forearms.

So we're trying to move the left femur and keep the rest of the body relatively neutral. Let's take maybe one more circle around and put your left knee by your right knee and now lift your right leg up, keep your right leg bent, 90 degree angle and start to circle that right leg around a few times. See how we're moving in that ball and socket joints, shoulders stable, right leg moving. Bring both knees together and step your left leg all the way to the back of your mat, then the right leg all the way back so we're in forearm plank for a moment and just getting oriented again into our center. So we've got the physical outer muscular body engaged from head to toe and then see if you can bring in a little bit of awareness with your breath towards your center to that calm, maybe relatively cool place when our bones are well aligned that we're relatively calm in our core engaging practice or at least we have hope for that to be true.

If not today, maybe next time we try this practice. One more second. Now let's bring your knees back to the blanket. Hands on the floor, straight arms and this time as we come to tabletop, take your left leg straight back to the back of your mat, turn your foot in on that long edge and kick your right foot back for a little kickstand. We'll swing your left arm up towards the ceiling right above your shoulder or chest and now let's raise your left leg off the ground.

So one of our first drop ins to half moon and take your left foot to the floor again and take your left arm by your ear. Lift your left leg as you lift your left arm right above your chest, left foot down, left arm overhead, left leg lifts, left arm to the sky. Let's turn and face the top of your mat again, knees together. Now slide your right leg straight back, turn the foot in on that long edge and left foot swings back like a little kickstand. Raise your right arm straight up in the air above your chest, raise your right foot about as high as your hip, so like your channeling half moon pose energy.

Right foot down, right arm by your ear, right arm up, right leg up. One more time, right foot comes back to touch the floor, right arm over by your ear and then lift your right arm and your right leg. Come back to table top. Now please stretch both legs back so you're in plank pose. Swing your hips up towards the ceiling, head down and bring your feet now a little bit closer together.

We'll swing your left leg up towards the ceiling, bend your left knee and then open your left hip towards the ceiling while keeping your right knee facing forward towards the top of your mat. Bear your hips, left foot down, take the right leg up, bend your right knee, open that right hip towards the ceiling, left knee faces the top of your mat, both feet back together. Walk your feet in front of your blanket, have your feet about hip distance apart, bend your knees as you fold forward to easily touch the floor. With bent knees, swing your arms up, come up to stand, take a big breath in and as you exhale with bent knees, bring your hands back down to touch the floor and step back with your left leg into a lunge position and put your left knee on the blanket. You can relax your back toes.

Take a moment and swing your left arm open up to your left and then take your left hand back to the floor. Take your left hand one more time out to the left or further up towards the ceiling and then bring that hand down. Curl your back toes under and now lift your left knee off the floor as you swing your left arm out to the side or towards the ceiling. Back to plank pose, let's step that right leg back. Downward facing dog, exhale and swing your left foot forward, lower your right knee to the blanket and rest your back foot for a moment as you swing your right arm out to the right or a little bit up towards the ceiling, right hand down.

Look towards that right hand as you lift it off the floor and towards the ceiling, right hand down. Curl your right toes under, now lift your right knee high lunge, swing your right arm out to the side, look up maybe towards the ceiling, both hands to the floor. Step your back right foot forward, bend your knees and let's get rid of that blanket if you can reach back and kind of carefully slide that out of your way. From your bent leg position, inhale, swing your arms in front of you and come up to standing straight legs, arms down at your side. I'm going to turn and face the long side of the mat with your feet about hip distance apart.

Let's take a moment from here and let your head move around on top of your spine and loosen up the neck. Those are the popping, cracking sounds today that we might get rid of with our circles. And then we'll take a pause now and keep your head above the navel, above the center of your pelvis as you start to roll your arms back and free up any stiffness or tension in the shoulder area. And then after a few of those moves, hopefully a little more loosened up, do a little twist to the left and to the right, let your arms bend as you twist. So we'll just move along those joints of your spine for a moment, couple little twists.

And then let's keep your arms down at your side as you do a couple of your little hula hoop circles. Create a little more ease and mobility and the hips, lower back or the opposite direction. Alright now let's go ahead and separate your feet like you would maybe for triangle pose. Slide your hands up toward your hips and let's turn your left foot out first to the sides. As we tip our hips to the left, slide your left hand down your leg and keep looking towards your left foot.

Then take your right arm straight up in the air above your chest while you keep looking at your left foot. Now lastly turn your head forward to look at the wall right in front of you. Slide back up, hands up to your hips, tilt again to your left, look down to your left foot, take your left hand to your shin, take your right arm towards the ceiling as you keep looking down and then lastly take a moment and look forward, spread through those arms. Slide all the way up, turn your left foot in, let's turn your right foot out, hands to your hips, do your tilt to the right and look down to your right foot. Slide your right hand down your leg, left arm towards the ceiling and then lastly look straight ahead, open up through your chest.

Slide back up, grab a hold of your hips, tilt to your right, look at your right foot as your right hand slides down your leg, left hand towards the ceiling and then look straight ahead, slide your right hand up your leg and then we're back to neutral. Bring your feet in closer together, feet parallel, let's hop your feet apart, turn your left foot out to the left with your hands up at your hips, we'll tilt again to your left side and slide your left hand down your leg and then take your right foot in a step towards your left. Keep looking down as you lean over that left leg, start to lift your right arm towards the ceiling and then lift your right foot. Keep looking down and right at the end see if you can turn your gaze to look at the wall in front of you, let's tilt back to both feet on the ground, arms at your side. One more time, let's slide your left hand down your leg, look towards your left toes, step your right foot in closer to your left foot, tip to your left and swing your right arm up towards the ceiling, then lift your right foot and maybe if we're ready for more adventure we look forward towards the long end of the mat, then you exit and release.

Left foot in, balance can be different every day, turn your right toes out, hands at your hips. Just look to the right foot as your right hand slides down your right leg, lean over that right foot as your left foot steps in one step closer. Take your left hand to the ceiling and then lift your left foot off the floor, maybe look forward to the wall in front of you and then step back, both feet on the ground, arms at your side. Let's try one more time, hands to your hips, tilt to your right, right hand down your leg, slide your left foot closer to your right foot, left hand to the ceiling, left foot carefully comes up, shining into your half moon variation, maybe look forward if you want more adventure, back to both feet on the ground, arms at your sides. Turn your toes forward, heel toe in and give your legs a little shake.

This last round we're going to use a block and your tall block, if we set it over to the left side of your mat towards the far end, let's open your feet for your triangle-ish base. Turn your left foot out, hands to your hips, so we've done our rehearsal, dress rehearsal rounds. Now let's see what it's like to drop into half moon as we tilt our hips to the left, look down, bring your left hand to your knee, then reach down to touch your tall block, raise your right arm towards the ceiling as you lean over that left foot and kick your right leg up full of energy while maintaining that center and potentially calm. The last moment maybe we look straight ahead at the long end of your mat, wall in front of you, let's catch the block as we come back up, both feet on the ground, arms at your side. Hope that was fun.

Turn your left foot in, turn your right foot out, take that tall block towards that far end of your mat, hands to your hips, let's tilt the pelvis to the right as you look down at your right foot. Right hand towards your shin, step your left foot in, put your right hand on the block and then raise your left hand to the ceiling, lift your left leg up and now imagine you're that half moon shining, bright, potentially turning your gaze towards the long end of the mat. One more moment still with that inner calm and then we can leave the block there as we step back with your feet on the ground, arms at your side and turn both feet the same direction to face the long end of your mat, heel, toe, legs and feet in and then give the legs a little shake out. You're going to take a turn towards the top of your mat, feet hip distance apart and let's from here raise your arms up in front of you, up towards the ceiling as you sit back into a chair pose and then come into straight legs, arms at your side. Bend your knees, maybe sit a little bit further back with your hips, arms up towards your ears, exit, mountain pose.

One more, arms up, hips back, let's fold all the way over the legs on exhale, touching the ground, step back one leg at a time into your push up of plank pose, adjusting that width between your hands and your feet and then bringing your hips up towards the sky as we come into our downward facing dog and adjust the distance between your hands and feet so you feel your whole body is engaged. As we're in our downward dog, see if we can bring some awareness back to our breath and as we're inhaling, imagine we're bringing a little more energy out towards the muscles, the skin, that more solar side of the body, closer to the sun and imagining that on the exhale you're bringing your awareness in closer into your center, into that space where we might discover the moon. Inhale breathing out towards the sun and as you exhale spending a moment just in your mind's eye creating the image maybe of a little half moon resting in your center. Now at some point if you're ready let's bring the knees to the floor, swing your feet to any side and then come down to sit in Dandasana where your legs are straight out in front of you. Maybe hands at your sides as you press your legs into the floor, sit up nice and tall.

Let's bring your left foot to the outside of your right leg and hold on to your left knee with both hands as you draw your ribs a little closer to that left leg. And we'll keep it easy wrapping that right elbow crease around your left knee and then take your left fingertips to your side or behind you and try to reground your right leg, sit bones as we turn our navel center a little bit towards the left. Now maybe your eyes looking to the floor out beyond your nose and imagine there's a little half moon somewhat above your heads that you're energetically drawn to that half moon that's floating above your heads letting your awareness be half turned inward and sort of some awareness still attuned to the environment around you. Let's release arms back to your side or behind you as you put your left leg on the floor straight and then bring your right foot to your outer left knee area. Let's grab the right knee with your left elbow crease, hug that right leg in.

Right fingertips are on the floor behind you or beside you. Let's reground your left leg, sit bones and sitting up tall so finding that right amount of more kind of young solar energy to lift your spine balanced with that little bit more meditative yin like lunar energy as we draw our awareness in towards our center or energetic center as we might think of it. Imagine the image again of half moon floating above your head as we unwind and release with your legs out in front of you. Let's take a moment if you bend your knees and grab your block. Raise your block between your thighs in the medium position, scoot yourself forward so you can have your feet flat on the floor and your hands behind you with your fingertips facing your heels.

Squeeze your elbows in, open up your chest, we can stay here, look forward, repress into the hands and feet and block as you raise your pelvis up to the sky, look towards the sky above you and then hips back down. One more time we might stay here or lift your pelvis, squeeze that block, look towards the ceiling above your face and we can come down. Let's grab that block and come down onto your back and transfer your block as you lift your hips under your pelvis so you're doing a supported bridge like pose with your arms at your side. Arms face the ceiling and just for a moment let your upper mid-back really feel contact with the floor. What areas in your front body do you need to soften so that the back is a little bit softer?

Perhaps you find that place that's comfortable enough that the eyes might turn inward and bathe a little bit more in this lunar energy without looking towards the ceiling or the sky but looking inward. Let's take five more breaths as you are here. If you're close to finishing your fifth or sixth cycle of your breath here, let's see if you feel comfortable tilting your knees towards your chest. Once your feet are off the floor, lift your feet up in the air, legs in the air and as you press your feet towards the ceiling, firm the muscles of the legs to the bones as if you were doing legs up against the wall here. Just for a moment for that work, all the work the legs have done for us in practice, give them a little rest and something that generally can be quite cooling and calming for people as having to feed up even in this version without the wall behind your legs.

Maybe take two or three more breaths energizing the legs as we press the feet towards the ceiling and then when you might be ready, let's go ahead and bend the knees and put your feet back on the floor. Lift your pelvis when you're ready, slide that block out of the way and cross your ankles over each other as you tip your knees towards your chest. Just for a moment, catch your feet and then rock your hips a little bit side to side. Finishing this floor part. Now let's go ahead and when you're ready, rock forward or roll to your side and as we come back up to do a little meditation pranayama, you might use your blanket again at the side center of your mat, especially if you're in Virasana, tilt your block to the medium position and have the knees back at the top of the blanket, block between the ankles.

And now let's go ahead and sit the best way for you as we keep the hands for just a moment face down on your lap, lengthen through the curves of your spine. Let's bring your right hand off your right leg and see if you might take your index finger and your middle finger up between your eyebrows. You got your thumb and your ring finger for your nostrils, slide above the fleshy part of the nostril to the cartilage of the nose. Let's begin by blocking your right nostril and inhale up through your left side, maybe a three or four second count. And use your ring finger to block your left nostril and exhale out your right nostril, maybe three or four seconds.

Inhale through your right nostril, block the right side, exhale through the left. When you're ready, inhale again up through your left nostril, up towards your third eye point, block the left nostril, exhale right, inhale up the right side, block the right, exhale left. And maybe you notice that one side is more open than the other. Keep your rhythm, breathing up one nostril, exhale opposite. The time often the nostrils will balance and you might notice there's a time of the day where you can breathe easily through both nostrils.

There's different times of the day where when we breathe up through the left, the lunar side, it's more open. Other times of the day, the right nostril, the solar side is more open. That could have a correlation to which side of the brain is more active. Is it our intuitive side or our more thinking, intellectual sides could be more dominant. Take a few more moments, finishing a little alternate nostril breathing.

If your nostrils are blocked, you're always welcome to visualize the practice. Next time you finish breathing out through that right side, let's go ahead and everybody have your hands on your lap and let's try to visualize alternate nostril breathing without using your hands for a moment. Visualize one round or two without using your hands. When you finish with your maybe second round of alternate nostril breathing, see if we can let go of any altering of the breath or controlling the breath. Just become a witness.

Feel the effect of our practice in your physical body, how it's affected the muscles, your core temperature, and perhaps noticing how the practice has affected you a little bit more on the energetic level, connecting us a little bit to the lunar energy and the calm that's present, perhaps when we're at that half moon stage of the month. This last few moments just bringing into your mind's eye that image of the half moon shining above you, appreciating its beauty, and maybe to reach new heights at this time of the month that we might have an adventure and go out and actually see the moon tonight or sometime in the near future and do a little moon bathing to stay cool and calm with the hands in front of the heart center. May others continue to benefit from our dedication to practice. Namaste and I wish you all a very safe week and I look forward to exploring some new adventures with you next time. Take care.


Jenny S
4 people like this.
🌗🌗🌗FUN FUN FUN🌓🌓🌓 Who doesn’t love a little half moon play to start the day?
Rachel S
2 people like this.
I just got home from a plane ride, and that felt AMAZING. :) Thank you!
Melina Meza
Jenny, thanks for staying with me and Season 5! We have so many fun adventures and new heights for you all this summer! Rachel, welcome home and I hope you enjoy the rest of the season as well.
Sandra Židan
Interesting practice! Thanks, Melina! Regards!
Ellen B
2 people like this.
This was wonderful!!!!!  Thank you.  Howard and I send our love.  It's wonderful that the episodes for season 5 are continuing to appear.  Many thanks.  Your deep, calm sense of spirit and bodymind are wonderful for our body, psyche and spirit.
Hope H
1 person likes this.
Melina, thank you so much for this fun practice. I love your style, humor and cueing and your lovely voice calms my nervous system! I’m a former student at the now closed Namaste in Oakland and your wonderful videos makes missing Namaste less painful and helped me stay healthy and grounded this last year. Thank you:)
Melina Meza
Hello Ellen, Howard and Hope...all Namasate studio friends! Thanks for saying hello and keeping your practice steady until we meet again. Perhaps sooner vs. later? Season 5 has been a real joy to film, I'm glad you're turning in and feeling some calm from the classes. Stay cool everyone and I hope you have some outdoor adventures on the horizon.
Leah K
1 person likes this.
So excited to try this one! Half Moon is one of my favorites.
Melina Meza
Hi Leah and Happy Solstice to you!
Diane C
1 person likes this.
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