We recently explored the practice of saluting the sun or Surya Namaskar as is common in a yoga practice.
What is less customary to a degree is Chandra Namaskar, the Moon Salutation.
The planetary opposite to the Sun Salutation, the Moon Salutation is similar in that the sequence features a lot of movement however, it differs from the warming, activating and light filled sun salutation as it is classed as a more meditative, passive, cooling and soothing sequence.
The contrast between the two can bring balance and equilibrium to your practice. In essence, the practices complement each other.
Like Sun Salutations, Moon Salutations can be included as part of a longer class or practised by themselves.
The sequence of poses are designed to cool and soothe the body and are generally practised during the evening as the combination of poses can forge a deeper connection to the breath creating a deeper sense of calm within and thus preparing the body and mind to rest.
There are many variations of the Moon Salutations however, they are generally practised facing the long edge of the mat and move to the right and then to the left.
- Begin standing in Tadasana or Mountain Pose in the centre of your mat facing the long edge, move through Urdhva Hastasana (Upward Salute) and then interlace your fingers with your index fingers pointing upwards.
- As you exhale, bend to the right into Standing Crescent Pose. Inhale back to centre and then exhale, bend to the left. Inhale, back to centre.
- Step the feet wide apart into Goddess pose followed by Trikonasana (Triangle Pose) to the right. Move into Parsvottonasana (Pyramid Pose) and then into a low lunge over the right leg.
- Open out into a wide-legged squat over the right leg, also known as Skandasana and then come back up into Goddess Pose.
- At this point, we reverse back through the poses on the left side coming back through Skandasana, a low lunge, Parsvottonasana (Pyramid Pose), Trikonasana (Triangle Pose), Goddess Pose and back into Urdhva Hastasana (Upward Salute) with the hands clasped and index fingers extending.
- This completes one round. The entire sequence is then repeated but bending to the left this time in Standing Crescent Pose.
- As you move from posture to posture, observe your breath. Each transition occurs on either an inhalation or an exhalation.
- Breathing is always through the nose and if it becomes too difficult to move with the breath, take a break and begin again when the breath has slowed to normal.
The Moon salutation is a great sequence for strengthening and improving flexibility. Particularly in the lower body.
However, as it is less commonly practised it can be a lot for the beginner to take in. Remember to move slowly with awareness and know that there is always the option for Child's Pose if needed.