February 8, 2011 Open your heart and balance your world
The creation of Arda Chandrasana.. Half Moon Pose. A pose that requires balance and heart opening while twisting upward toward the sky.
Ganesh, the charming elephant-headed god adored by so many for his generous ways and clever antics, is also known for his wild infatuation with all things sweet. Despite his love for sugary foods, he is a master of yoga, taking after his father, Shiva.
On one of his exploits, Ganesh actually consumed so many sweet cakes that his belly was full to bursting. He decided it was time to head home and relax his stuffed belly, so he hopped on his trusty “steed,” a tiny mouse.
The pair was cruising smoothly along when a very long cobra slithered onto their path frightening the mouse. The mouse darted one way, and Ganesh fell over. When he hit the ground, his overstuffed belly exploded and sweet cakes rained everywhere. This greatly perturbed Ganesh, who was upset not only by the disruption of his ride, but by the loss of the sweet fullness of his tummy.
He walked around and collected all the sweet cakes and stuffed them, one by one, back into his belly. All the while, the moon, Chandra, was watching the extravaganza and couldn’t help exploding into laughter at Ganesh’s crazy antics.
Ganesh was very upset to be the object of Chandra’s laughter, and in a fit of anger (remember he’s Shiva’s son), he broke off his right tusk and hurled it at the moon. Pierced by the tusk, Chandra’s light went out. Ganesh cursed the moon so it would never shine again, leaving the earth continuously lit by the sun.
With no night, no dawn, and no dusk, love was lost to the world. There was no place for romance, and men and gods alike became scorched and hopeless upon the hot earth.
Ganesh was holed up in his palace when a group of gods came to appeal to him to allow the moon to shine once more. Flattered by their appeals, Ganesh decided he could agree to a compromise. He would let the moon shine, but it would be required to wax and wane, shinning at its full potential only once every four weeks.
This, he decided, would be a permanent lesson for the moon so it would remember never to laugh at him again.”
Interesting story right? But what’s the lesson here?
“One of the greatest lessons a yogi can learn is that everything we experience has an internal source of energy, as do the sun and moon. Within our bodies, the sun and moon occupy opposing halves. The moon presides over the left energy channel (ida nadi), and the sun presides over the right one (pingala nadi).
Ideally, we strive to seek a balance between both, basking in the moon as much as the sun and learning to wield both types of energy as we progress upon our path to enlightenment.
Ganesh may have taught Chandra a lesson, but the real lesson here is that steeped in only sunshine, all love is lost from the world. There is no softness, no shadow to define the landscape of our heart. Without a dawn or dusk, there is no halfway point during which to steals away during those wee hours of perfect balance between night and day.
Within our yoga practice, we learn the truth of the at age-old wisdom, ‘As above, so below. As without, so within’ – as with the sun and moon in the sky, so with those in our heart – and we seek to find as much joy in the shadow and lunar places of our existence as we do in the bright and solar places of our life.”
Excerpts from Myths of the Asanas: The Stories at the Heart of the Yoga Tradition, by Alanna Kaivalya and Arjuna van der Kooij (Mandala Publishing, 2010). All rights reserved.
The great lesson here in this story about Ganesh and Chandra (the moon) is that as much as we need the warmth and radiance of the sunlight , at the same time we need to be just as glorious and balanced among the shadows of the moon.. The moon and sun make up the two halves that help create balance in our bodies as well as the world around us. Creating the proper balance is necessary in all parts of our life mind, body and spirit in order for us as people to engage in harmonious and fufilling relationships and lives.
Sometimes we get lost in issues that knock us off our feet and it is hard to find our way back.. By practicing forgiveness and compassion we enable ourselves to slowly stumble upon the right path and get back on track. Find joy in the people and places around you and find a place in your heart where you can find the perfect balance for you.. Surround yourselves with people and things that bring you joy and love and slowly let go of the people and things that no longer service you. (thanks Michal)
Open your heart and mind and create a beautiful balanced life for yourself..
In Ardha Chandrasana leg strength is gained from balancing on one leg. This pose is also very effective in strengthening ankles.
The pose requires and cultivates balance and equanimity.
It strengthens the legs, abdomen, ankles, thighs, buttocks, and builds coordination and a sense of balance
It provides a healthy stretch for the groins, hamstrings and calves, shoulders, chest, and spine.
Ardha Chandrasana improves digestion.
The pose is known to lifts ones mood and gives a sense of accomplishment.