Chandra Namaskar Moon Salutation

Chandra Namaskar: Your Gateway to Lunar-Inspired Wellness

Most yoga practitioners are familiar with Surya Namaskar or Sun Salutations. However, not many are familiar with its other counterpart- Chandra Namaskar or the Moon Salutation.

In the world of yoga, the Chandra Namaskar, or moon salutation, stands out as a graceful and restorative practice that harnesses the soothing energy of the moon. As we dive into the depths of this gentle sequence, we will explore its origins, benefits, and the steps to incorporate it into your wellness routine.

What is Chandra Namaskar or Moon Salutation?

The Chandra Namaskar is a series of postures and movements that pay reverence to the moon and honour its power. Unlike the more dynamic and energizing Surya Namaskar (sun salutation), the moon salutation is a slower, more introspective practice that promotes calmness, relaxation, and balance.

The sequence has 14 postures that align the practitioner with the moon's waxing and waning cycles as reflected in the fourteen lunar phases. These postures mirror the ebb and flow of energy that is so prevalent in nature. By synchronizing our breath and movement with the lunar energy, we can tap into a deeper sense of tranquility and emotional equilibrium.

Chandra Namaskar Yoga Sequences

The traditional Chandra Namaskar sequence typically consists of 14 steps, each one flowing seamlessly into the next. However, it's important to note that variations and adaptations exist, allowing practitioners to tailor the practice to their individual needs and preferences.

Here is a common Classical Chandra Namaskar sequence:

  1. Pranamasana (Prayer Pose)
  2. Place your hands in prayer at the center of your heart while standing with your feet hip-width apart.
  3. Focus on your fingertips to enhance humility and awareness of the Anahata (Heart) Chakra.
  4. Chant the Mantra- Om Kameshvaraya Namaha which means salutations to the ones who fulfill desires.
  5. Urdhva Hastasana (Upward Salute)
  6. • Breathe in while raising your arms above your head, palms facing one another.
  7. Bend backwards as much as it is comfortable and focus on the Throat Chakra, belly stretches and lung expansion.
  8. Chant the mantra- Om Bhagamalinyai Namaha which means salutations to one who wears the garland of prosperity.
  9. Padahastasana (Forward Fold)
  10. Release the breath as you bend forward and place your hands on your shins or the floor.
  11. Focus on your spine lengthening and back body sensations.
  12. Ashwa Sanchalasana (Horse Riding Pose)
  13. Inhale and move your left leg back lowering your knee to the ground
  14. Lift your torso, keeping your back straight and right foot in the same position
  15. Focus on your eyebrow center or Third Eye (Ajna Chakra).
  16. Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon Pose)
  17. Maintaining Horse Riding Pose, raise your hands and stretch over the head to arch to your back
  18. Hold this pose for a short period while retaining the breath inside.
  19. Dandasana (Four-Limbed Staff Pose)
  20. Exhale and lower into a plank position, with your body in a straight line from head to heels.
  21. Maintain your gaze in front.
  22. Ashtanga Namaskar (Salutation with Eight Limbs)
  23. Lower the knees, chest, and chin all at once onto the mat while maintaining the position of the feet and palms.
  24. Maintain a bent elbow position that is closer to the chest. The abdomen and hips stay elevated off the mat.
  25. Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)
  26. Lift your chest and biceps while directing your gaze to the middle of your eyebrows.
  27. As you press your legs and the tops of your feet into the mat, keep lifting through your chest.
  28. 9. Parvatasana (Mountain Pose)
  29. From here that is the 9th Step, you will repeat the poses in the opposite order.
  30. Raise your hips while keeping your chest towards the thighs.
  31. Keep your arms and legs straight making a posture as a mountain.
  32. Ashwa Sanchalasana (Equestrian Pose)
  33. Inhale and move your left leg back lowering your knee to the ground
  34. Lift your torso, keeping your back straight and right foot in the same position
  35. Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon Phase)
  36. Same as Step 5
  37. Padahastasana (Hand to Foot Pose)
  38. Same as Step 3
  39. Urdhva Hastasana (Upward Salute)
  40. Same as Step 2
  41. Pranamasana (Prayer Pose)

• Same as Step 1

Remember, these 14 steps or postures constitute only half a round of a moon salutation. You need to repeat the sequence with the left leg to complete a full round of moon salutation.

You must feel free to explore variations that resonate with you and your body.

Chandra Namaskar Benefits

Practising the Chandra Namaskar offers a myriad of physical, mental, and emotional benefits:

1. Stress Relief

The gentle, flowing movements and deep breathing associated with the moon salutation have a calming effect on the mind and body, helping to alleviate stress and promote relaxation.

2. Improved Sleep

The lunar-inspired practice is believed to have a positive impact on sleep quality, as it helps to balance the body's circadian rhythms and regulate melatonin production.

3. Enhanced Flexibility

The postures in the Chandra Namaskar sequence gently stretch and lengthen the muscles, improving overall flexibility and range of motion.

4. Emotional Balancing

By aligning with the moon's cycles, the Chandra Namaskar can help stabilize emotions, reduce mood swings, and foster a greater sense of emotional well-being.

5. Increased Mindfulness

The slow, meditative nature of the moon salutation encourages practitioners to be more present and attentive, cultivating a deeper connection with the self and the surrounding environment.

6. Hormone Regulation

Some studies suggest that the Chandra Namaskar may have a positive impact on the regulation of hormones, such as cortisol and estrogen, which can be beneficial for overall health and well-being.

Instructions to Follow

To begin your Chandra Namaskar practice, follow these simple steps:

1. Create a Serene Space: Find a quiet, comfortable space where you can practice without distractions. Consider dimming the lights or lighting candles to create a calming, moon-like ambience.

2. Set an Intention: Before starting your practice, take a moment to set a clear intention or focus for your Chandra Namaskar session. This could be anything from cultivating inner peace to enhancing your sleep quality.

3. Tune in to Your Breath: Throughout the practice, be mindful of your breath. Aim to keep your inhalations and exhalations smooth, even, and synchronized with the movement of your body.

4. Move with Fluidity: As you transition from one posture to the next, strive for a fluid, graceful flow. Avoid rushing and instead, allow your movements to be slow, intentional, and aligned with the lunar energy.

5. Embrace the Pause: In between some of the postures, take a moment to pause and connect with the present moment. Use this time to observe your physical sensations and emotional state.

6. Conclude with Savasana: End your Chandra Namaskar practice with a restorative Savasana (Corpse Pose), allowing your body and mind to fully integrate the benefits of the sequence.

When to Do Chandra Namaskar?

The Chandra Namaskar is often practised during the waxing and waning phases of the moon in the evening or night, as these periods are believed to be particularly aligned with the moon's energy.

Some practitioners choose to do the Chandra Namaskar in the evening, as it can be a wonderful way to wind down and prepare for a restful night's sleep. Make sure that your stomach is empty before doing these asanas.

Ultimately, the best time to practice Chandra Namaskar is whenever it resonates with you and your individual needs. Experiment and find the rhythm that works best for your body and mind.

In conclusion, the Chandra Namaskar is a beautiful and transformative yoga practice that invites us to embrace the lunar energy and cultivate a deeper sense of calm, balance, and connection. Whether you're a seasoned yogi or new to the practice, the moon salutation offers a gentle yet powerful pathway to wellness and self-discovery.

At Pokhara Yoga School and Retreat Center, we help Yoga learners understand all the yogic asanas and their importance and benefits in our lives that help them embody the essence of the Moon Salutation and the Sun Salutation. Learn Yoga comprehensively in the most pleasant ambience in the foothills of the Himalayas to get all-round benefits that would transform your life.

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