Practicing yoga asana is amazing for the body in so many ways. Through regular practice, the body becomes more flexible and strong. Due to the deep stretches involved, the whole body is bathed in new blood as the circulation is stimulated and invigorated.
The Crescent Moon pose is particularly good for digestion and chronic constipation due to the increased stretch it produces. The stretch invigorates the digestive system due to the pressure exerted on both sides of the colon, and large intestine. In addition, the muscles attached to the spine are strengthened and any excess fat around the hips and gluts is reduced.
It is also credited with strengthening the knees, leg muscles, and the thighs with reported relief from joint pain. It is also said that practicing the Crescent Moon posture helps to increase height in children through the elongation of the spine that is produced by this posture.
• Stand tall with feet together. Fix your gaze in front of you and become aware of your breath.
• Breath slow and rhythmically.
• After a couple of breaths, raise both hands up above your head, ensuring that the palms are together.
• On your next inhalation, pull up out of the pelvis and feel your waist and spine stretch and lengthen. Stand as tall as you can.
• Start to bend to the left pulling up and out of your waist.
• Ensure you keep the spine straight and bend only to your capacity. It is important not to over stretch.
• The angle achieved through this stretch is not important, it is the control and calmness of mind you experience that is of most benefit.
• Hold the stretch for two or three slow natural breaths. Try to remain as calm as possible and breath into the posture.
• Slowly, on an exhalation, start to come out of this position and return to the center keeping your palms together and arms above your head.
• Stretch arms up as far as you can and breath naturally for a couple of breaths before lowering your hands to the starting position.
• Repeat the whole process on the right side.
• Taking some time for Corpse Pose when finished this, allows the Crescent Moon to integrate and enhance the benefits received.
It is a very simple and effective asana for all ages and abilities. There is always the danger of performing seemingly simple asana without due care and concentration. Many people perform this asana without using the breath, and there is a tendency for some to lean across the body rather than stretching to the side. There is little to no benefit of performing any asana in such a way.
Do not fall into the trap of disrespecting the power and effectiveness of yoga practiced correctly. Yoga promotes unity of the mind and body, and the importance of this harmony is clearest during the practice of asana.
For a comprehensive book that details yoga postures, there benefits, and counter poses, check out The Yoga Bible on Amazon.