THE YOGA MOON SALUTATION
YOGA MOON SALUTATION - CHANDRA NAMASKAR
Moon Salutations, also known as Chandra Namaskar, are a soothing yet empowering variation and counterbalance to classical Sun Salutations (Surya Namaskar). They allow us to honor the yin or feminine side of our energy, in contrast to the Sun Salutations, which are more yang, or masculine, in nature. A resurgence of the Moon Salutation is part of the rediscovery of the divine feminine at this important time in our evolution. However, moon salutations are not just for women! Men can reconnect, realign and cool-down fiery impulses through Moon Salutations. Moon salutations can shift energy without increasing heat in the body and tend to be less stimulating than Sun Salutations, thereby balancing hot emotions, relaxing and calming the mind and body and restoring balance.
The Yoga Moon Salutation is both ancient and modern. The moon is of particular importance in Hatha Yoga. The word Hatha is broken down as "Ha" meaning "sun" and "Tha" meaning "moon." Traditional Sun Salutations enhance our inner fire and strengthen us as we prepare for life's obstacles, while the Moon Salutations cool us as we prepare for our journey of descent; going inward, uncovering our wisdom, creativity, balance and inherent intelligence, hence opening the path for enlightenment. (The practice of Hatha Yoga brings unity between the two opposites; aggression and retreat).
The Sun Salutations are designed to allow us to connect to the sun's powerful energy and are often practiced at dawn. The Moon Salutations are especially effective when practiced during the full moon, as this is the most powerful lunar phase. The amazing Moon Salutations are not just for full moon practice and are for any time of day, but are especially beneficial when performed in the evening as the series of poses is designed to calm the mind and relax the body.
If possible, practicing Moon Salutations outdoors during a full moon is a very powerful practice, as lunar energy can be absorbed for healing, empowerment and intuitive energy. The moon is cooling and luminous and these Salutations are meant to celebrate and promote all the magical gifts that the moon has to give.
These are the asanas for the Yoga Moon Salutation:
Prayer Pose - palms together overhead
Crescent Moon Pose - arching to the left
Goddess Pose - squat, arms at sides in an L-shape, palms forward
Transition Pose - star pose, the body is like a 5-pointed star
Triangle Pose - extending to the left, right arm up
Head to knee - left leg
Lunge to the left
Forward Facing Lunge - right leg extended
Squat Pose - Malasana, hands in prayer position
Forward Facing Lunge - left leg extended
Lunge to the right
Head to Knee - right leg
Triangle Pose - extending to the right, left arm up
Transition Pose - star pose
Crescent Moon Pose - arching to the right
Return to Prayer Pose - palms together overhead
The diagram below from Laura Cornell, PhD, shows the sequence of Chandra Namaskar; 16 asanas that constitute the Yoga Moon Salutation.
Plan your future Moon Salutations! Follow the moon's cycles and phases and use this calendar to see any date - past, present or future.
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