Moon Salutation, Chandra Namaskara, is a flowing hatha yoga sequence designed to calm and restore balance to the body.
It is designed to connect with the cooling female energy of the moon. Moon Salutations are usually practised at night, but there is nothing to say that you cannot practice this salutation in the day, especially if you want a calming, tranquil flow to your yoga practice.
The Moon salutation is a great counter-balance to Sun Salutations that heat the body, and stroke the inner fire, Agni.
Hatha yoga is broken down to mean: Ha “Sun” and “Tha” moon. And in yoga we are trying to find unity and balance not only in the body but also in the brain and breath. In yoga we deal with uniting opposites: sun/moon, right/left, hot/cold, awakening/slowing down, sympathetic nervous system/parasympathetic nervous system. Essentially everything is a balance.
The moon salutation is linked to the left nostril which in turn activates the right side of the brain. A person who is “right brained” is said to be more intuitive, thoughtful, subjective, creative and calm; and essentially feminine. A person who is “left brained” is said to be logical, scientific and mathematical, fiery, awake, hot; and essentially masculine. Are you a balance between the two or are you more sun “left brained” or moon “right brained”?
This week in our yoga classes we have been focusing on the moon salutation, and how we feel after performing it. We have also contrasted it to the more energising sun salutations.
The sequence is wonderful for the spine and really works the hips deeply. You’ll also notice the hamstrings and calves get a wonderful stretch too.
We also performed left nostril breathing which is calming and balancing essentially slowing you down. This is an ideal pranayama technique to practice before you sleep. I have read that 31 minutes a day of left nostril breathing can ease you into relaxation and even result in weight loss! The left nostril breath activates the parasympathetic nervous system which allows the digestive system to actually work properly; rather than staying on high alert with the fight or flight response of the sympathetic nervous system.
We finished this weeks class at Body Soul Yoga Surrey, with a full moon guided meditation. If you were feeling out of balance from the energy of the full moon on Monday, we hope that the relaxation was able to realign you to the energy of the moon, balancing and healing you. If you take a look at our podcasts this meditation will be available very soon.
We hope you enjoy this calming restoring and rejuvenating practice. Don’t forget you can take five breaths in each pose, or take three breaths in each posture and when you know the sequence inside out try taking one breath in each posture. After one round, don’t forget to take a full cycle starting on the other side.
We recommend that you first warm the spine and take some sun salutations; also add some hip openers, kneeling lunges, crescent moon poses and so on, to warm up before flowing through this practice.
Any questions do please get in touch. We hope to see you very soon in our yoga classes.