A Moon Salutation

Everything is relative: the sun is yang relative to the moon. But, the moon is yang relative to the earth. Even the salutations to the moon can be too warming for the muscles at some times. However, on a cold winter morning when the muscles are very stiff and frozen, a few rounds of a moon salutation could be ideal just before a yin practice.

Just as there are dozens of variations of Sun Salutations, there are many versions of Moon Salutations. The offering below is based on the Kripalu tradition as adapted by the Ra-Hoor-Khuit Network. [1] You may find it a great way to prepare the hips for a yin session targeting the liver.

This Chandra Namaskar (Moon Salutation) begins in Mountain Pose (Tadasana), just like a Sun Salutation. From there the flow is quite different. Use your breath as the envelope for all movements - begin the breath before you begin the movement and end the movement before you end the breath.

1. Anjali Mudra: Stand in Tadasana. Root your feet, hug your thighs together, and lift your crown to the moon. Press palms together at elbow level in anjali mudra (prayer).

Tadasana with hands in prayer
2. Half Moon: Lift arms overhead, interlacing fingers, and pointing index fingers upward in temple position. Root left foot and left hip, extending torso and bend to the right. Root right foot and right hip and, extending the torso, come back through center - bending to the left. Root left foot, return to center.

Reach arms overhead Half Moon to the Right Half Moon to the Left
3. Goddess: Step to the right and point feet slightly outward. Soften knees and squat, lowering your sitting bones and your bent elbows downward, but raise your hands and fingertips upward.

Goddess
4. Star: Root feet and straighten legs, keeping feet wide apart. Hug thighs to the middle and lift your crown skyward. Extend fingertips and arms at shoulder level.

Star
5. Triangle: Turn right toes to right, left heel to left, and press hips left, extending torso to right. Lower right hand as you raise left hand

Triangle to the Right
6. Pyramid: Lower both hands toward right foot, folding over the right leg. Rest your hands on leg, foot, or on the floor. Root your feet and tighten your thighs, lifting your kneecaps.

Fold over right leg
7. Lunge: Bend the forward (right) knee, bringing hands to floor on either side of front foot, and lower your back knee to floor (or optionally, keep the knee raised for more challenge). Root the right foot and top of the left foot into the floor.

Come into a low lunge over the right leg
8. Wide Leg Squat: Bring both hands to the inside of the right foot, and lower your tailbone as you pivot the right foot to face forward, rotating the left leg so that toes point upward (more challenging is to point left foot forward). Bring your hands together in anjali mudra. If that is too challenging, keep the palms on the floor.

Wide leg squat to the right
9. Squat: Bring the right leg toward center. Root your feet, lowering your tailbone. If flexibility allows, bring palms together at your heart. If your heels are lifted, don't worry about it; you could try keeping the feet a little wider apart. Keep the knees and feet pointing in the same direction.

Squat
10. Wide Leg Squat: With hands once again on the floor, extend the left leg to the left. Slide your torso toward the left foot. Bring your hands together in anjali mudra. If that is too challenging, keep the palms on the floor.

Wide leg squat to the left
11. Lunge: Pivot to face the left knee, with hands on either side of the left foot, rotating the right leg and bringing the right knee to floor (or optionally, keep the knee raised for more challenge). Root the left foot and top of the right foot into the floor.

Come into a low lunge over the left leg
12. Pyramid: This time fold over the straightening left leg. Rest your hands on leg, foot, or the floor. Root your feet and tighten your thighs, lifting your kneecaps.

Fold over the left leg
13. Triangle: Sweep right arm upward and back, sliding left hand along the left leg toward the ground.

Triangle to the Left
14. Star: Bring both arms to shoulder level, turning toes slightly outward. Root feet and straighten legs, keeping feet wide apart. Hug thighs to the middle and lift your crown skyward. Extend fingertips and arms at shoulder level.

Star
15. Goddess: Soften knees and squat, lowering your sitting bones and bend your elbows downward, but raise your hands and fingertips upward.

Goddess
16. Half Moon: Straighten the legs and turn the toes forward. Step the left foot toward the right foot as you lift arms overhead, interlacing fingers and pointing index fingers upward in temple position. Root right foot and right hip, extending torso, and bend to the left. Root left foot and left hip, extending torso, come back through center - bending to the right. Root right foot, returning to center.

Half Moon to the Left Half Moon to the Right Reach arms overhead
17. Anjali Mudra: Complete the cycle by coming back to Tadasana. Root your feet, hug your thighs together, and lift your crown to the moon. Press palms together at elbow level in anjali mudra. Repeat the moon salutation as many times as you feel necessary.

Tadasana with hands in prayer
If you would like to view another version of a Moon Salutations you can check out Shiva Rea's Lunar Flow Yoga DVD. If the Moon Salutations are still a bit too vigorous for you, the mini-Sun Salutation that we are going to visit next may be more suitable.



1 -- Additional information can be found at the Web site www.rahoorkhuit.net/library/yoga/hatha/kripalu.


(Next: A Mini-Sun Salutation )







To buy YinSights as an eBook (PDF format), click the Buy Now button:
$5.95 US
Buy Now



CURRENT MOON





© Copyright 2006-2014 yinyoga.com   Please view our Terms of Use page for copyright and copyleft information.
Warning & Disclaimer   Before attempting any of the practices described on this web site please visit our Warning Page.