Many of us have heard of sun salutations, but have you ever heard of a moon salutation? Most of us haven’t heard of the Moon salutation so we’ll tell you a little bit about what the moon salutation is and then we’ll talk about how to physically do the moon salutation. The moon salutation is a magical counterpart to the sun salutation and it’s a great sequence to incorporate Into Your Daily Yoga practice. Moon salutations tend to be more restorative and can be nice to practice in the evening to cool down the body. In addition to these benefits, while the sun salutation is more about energizing your body through building heat, light and activity, and typically practiced towards the beginning of a practice to warm the body up, the moon salutation is a cooling, receptive and meditative salutation. In Sanskrit, it is called chandra namaskara and while it can be practiced really at any time, but it’s nice to practice this top Oconomowoc yoga sequence in the evening when the moon is actually visible.
You can practice Moon salutation on its own or you can incorporate it with other yoga poses and routines. Rather than triggering heat in the body, the moon salutation is a gentle practice and provides a nice balance of strength and softness which again can be perfect for an evening practice, in honor of a full moon or just in helping to bring a sense of balance to your day. It is also ideal and suitable for anyone who is feeling overheated, completely exhausted or over-stimulated.
So, let’s get into the fun part and talk about how to perform the moon salutation! Like many poses and sequences in yoga, there’s a few different ways to do the moon salutation but we’ll break down one sequence that is very common and like the moon when it’s a full moon it’s completely cylindrical so that means that we’ll move through the sequence and you can kind of think about it in a circle. So once we get to a certain position or halfway through the sequence, we will go through and repeat those same poses in the reverse order and on the opposite side.
To start practicing moon salutation, roll out your mat or maybe find a carpeted area in your house or apartment to reduce the strain of your body or pressure points on a hard surface. Also feel free to take your practice outside and find a grassy area in your yard or at the park for some cushion. To start moon salutation you can come to the top of your mat in Mountain pose. In Mountain pose, we’re going to stand straight up and down. Try to relax your shoulders down your back and imagine that there is a long piece of string pulling the crown of your head upwards with your arms nice and long on both sides of your body and the palms of your hands facing forward.
Next inhale and bring your arms over head you can interlace your fingers and release your index fingers and you’ll take a crescent right side bend. So here, you’re going to have to inhale your arms up towards the sky and gently lower your body to the right side.
On your next inhale you can bring your arms back up to the Center standing up straight and nice and tall and release your hands back down to your side. You can step to the right of your mat so you’re stepping your right foot out about 4 feet is between both of your feet and your feet are pointed outwards at a 45 degree angle facing the side of your mat. In goddess pose you want to lower your legs so that your thighs are parallel to the ground and your knees are bent at a 90 degree angle with your legs and hips opened nice and wide to the side of your mat.
Next you’ll pivot all ten toes to face the back of your mat and come into triangle pose so you’ll hinge at the hips, lowering your torso to the ground and your arms are going to go nice and long in opposite directions. Your right hand can be on the mat and your left hand will be nice and high to the sky.
In the next pose of the sequence you’re going to move in to pyramid pose, so you can gently rise up from triangle and keep your legs and feet in the same position. Maybe your left toes will point out to about 10:00 and you can gently fold over your right leg keeping both legs straight.
In the next pose in Moon Salutation for top Oconomowoc Yoga, we’re going to move into a high lunge. So you’re going to bend your right knee at about a 90-degree angle and your left knee and leg is going to stay high with your left leg nice and straight and both hands on either side of your bent right leg.
After our high lunge will move into flying monkey pose or a side lunge so we’re going to Pivot our toes to face the right side of mat and your right calf and thigh should be touching each other with the entire sole of your foot on the ground. Your left leg is extended nice and long out to your side. In this top Oconomowoc yoga pose, you can bring your hands into prayer position and bring your hands to your Heart Center or you can use your hands for balance by placing them on either side of your body or legs.
The next pose in the top Oconomowoc yoga sequence or moon salutation is to come back into goddess pose. After goddess pose, as we stated earlier, you’ll simply repeat this same sequence except you will do it in reverse order and on the left side of your body so when you think about this practice, again it’s cylindrical so you’re moving your body and completing the poses in a circular type fashion.
To learn how to do the Moon Salutation in person, come visit Sweat Shop Hot Yoga studio in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin. If you’re not able to make it to the studio, visit us online at www.sweatshophotyoga.com or give us a call at 262-269-1466. We can’t wait to meet you at Sweat Shop hot yoga, one of the top Oconomowoc yoga studios!