power yoga teacher training intensiveBy Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500

Yoga is a path toward creating balance in the physical, mental, and spiritual bodies. There are various forms of Yoga that focus on each dimension; “Hatha Yoga” is the practice that concentrates on the physical body. In Hatha Yoga, students use physical postures to practice balancing opposites; For example, effort and surrender, strength and flexibility. As many of you know, “ha” means sun, and “tha” means moon; thus, Hatha Yoga represents the balancing of masculine and feminine energies that exist within all beings.

The ancient Yogis had a deep appreciation for this concept of balance, and they practiced sequences of Yoga postures called “namaskars,” that provided opportunities to reflect on this idea. A popular Yoga sequence is Surya Namaskar, which loosely translates as “salutations to the sun.” When one practices Surya Namaskar, he or she honors the sun, masculine energy, light and warmth. The balancing sequence to Surya Namaskar is Chandra Namaskar, salutations to the moon. The practice of Chandra Namaskar pays reverence to the moon, feminine energy, dark and coolness.

Over the years, numerous variations of Chandra Namaskar (Moon Salutation) have emerged. Usually, the sequence includes the following postures:

Mountain Pose

Mountain Pose: pressing palms together overhead

Crescent Moon Pose: arching to the left

Mountain Pose: pressing palms together overhead

Goddess Pose: squatting with arms at sides in an L-shape and palms forward

Five Pointed Star Pose: standing with legs apart and extending arms out to the sides

Triangle Pose, extending to the left

Head to Knee Pose: standing with left leg in front

Lunge: bending left knee and lowering right knee to the ground

Extended Side Angle Pose: bending left knee and extending right leg

Five Pointed Star Pose: standing with legs apart and extending arms out to the sides

Extended Side Angle Pose: bending right knee and extending left leg

Lunge: bending right knee and lowering left knee to the ground

Head to Knee Pose: standing with right leg in front

Triangle Pose: extending to the right

Five Pointed Star Pose: standing with legs apart and extending arms out to the sides

Goddess Pose: squatting with arms at sides in an L-shape and palms forward

Mountain Pose: pressing palms together overhead

Crescent Moon Pose: arching to the right

Mountain Pose: pressing palms together overhead

Mountain Pose

The best time to practice Chandra Namaskar is during calm and peaceful occasions, such as winter and nighttime. Ideally, one practices lunar salutations outdoors under a full moon.  However, there is some debate about practicing Moon Salutations on the full moon day, which some traditions honor as a sacred day of rest. 

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