Most people who have practiced yoga can hear salutation and easily know that it’s about yoga. A common salutation practiced is the sun salutation sequence, Surya Namaskar. The moon salutation, also known as Chandra Namaskar, is however not practiced nearly as much and therefore not known as well.
What is a Salutation
A salutation in yoga is a number of set poses, or asanas, that are strung together to form a sequence. The salutations were the beginning of the yoga style vinyasa, as it literally created a flow. That’s what a salutation is- a flow.
Some salutations are done to create heat and warmth within the body, like the sun salutation sequence. Other sequences like Chandra Namaskar (moon salutation) are done to create relaxation. They are either done to create a fire in the body or to calm the nervous system and prepare the person for a restful state.
What is the Moon Salutation
Chandra Namaskar is a sequence that aims to cool the body down by doing a set number of poses that enforce a state of rest and relaxation. They are usually done after, or at the end, of a full yoga class to settle the body after all the work that has been done. It works as a transition into svasana, the corpse pose, which is the last pose done in a yoga class.
The moon salutation is heavily associated with the night-time because of its connection to the moon. This is why Chandra Namaskar is mostly done in the evening or around times of the full moon. It’s a way of bowing to the moon so that it can rejuvenate your energy. It’s used as an opposite to a longer, fluid class to soothe and help a person reconnect to their breath.
The Moon Salutation Sequence
This sequence begins and ends with either a meditation or a form of chanting. This allows a person to fully enter and leave the space needed for the moon salutation.
- The first pose is tadasana, the mountain pose. It then flows into a high mountain, also known as Urdhva Hastasana.
- Then the right foot steps back into Konasana II, where the feet are more than hip-distance apart and facing the corners of the mat. The left arm is bending over and the right hand is on the right thigh for a side-body stretch.
- From there, it goes into goddess pose with cactus arms. Then into star pose, by simply extending the legs and straightening the knees.
- From star pose, the person turns to face the right foot to come into triangle pose.
- The flow then goes into pyramid pose, still facing the right foot.
- The left knee drops onto the mat, and arms reach up for a low lunge.
- From low lunge, the person turns to face the side of the mat for Skandasana, side lunge.
- From skandasana on the right side, the flow goes into malasana, also known as yogi squat.
- It then flows into skandasana on the left side.
- From skandasana, it goes into a low lunge facing the left foot with arms reaching up.
- It then flows into pyramid facing the left foot and then triangle, whilst still facing the left foot.
- From there, the flow goes into star facing the side of the mat again.
- From star into goddess pose again with cactus arms.
- From there, it goes into Konasana II with the right arm up and over, whilst the left hand is on the left thigh.
- It then goes back into a high mountain and then tadasana.
This whole flow repeats again on the left side and spirals back to the front of the mat.
Why the Moon Salutation is Done in Yoga
Yoga has a big emphasis on being active, as well as resting and rejuvenating. It’s important to have a balanced practice, similar to how important it is to have a balanced work and life schedule. A lot of yoga practices focus on fast-paced movement, which is why it’s important to take time to do slower and restful practices like yin yoga, or the moon salutation.
On any day that a person is feeling tired or has a lack of inspiration to move, the moon salutation is perfect. It allows a person to move in a fluid way that is calming and replenishes someone’s energy. It brings a sense of calm and relaxation, which is often what people want when they come to yoga.