The moon controls the ebb and flow of many things in our lives. Without the moon, surfers would have no waves to ride. Some of the gravitational pull that keeps us grounded on this Earth every day can be attributed to the moon. More pregnancies occur during a full moon cycle, resulting in some to believe that it also has an effect on a woman’s fertility. Others claim it affects our mental state of being as studies show that crime rates heighten and psychiatric patient admittance grows during a full moon cycle, hence the term lunatic. The werewolf can only reveal his true self in the light of a full moon… there has to be an ample amount of power in that, right?
A full moon occurs every 28 days. Each day in between, the moon is either in a waning or a waxing state thus growing or shrinking. Just as the moon grows over the course of time, so does human knowledge. Perhaps it can be said that every full moon is symbolic of the past month’s trials, tribulations, victories and adventures. The shimmering blue moonlight beating down on our shoulders represents the lessons we learned along the way. Gazing into the full moon, we might see part of ourselves—and just like the moon, every month we are given a chance to start over. Soon enough there will be a new moon in the sky and bring a new beginning to those that receive its light.
The moon represents the yin aspects in life: it is a cool brightness, and a much slower rise and fall than its yang counterpart, the sun. As the sun’s light brings life and growth to the world, moonlight brings rest and calmness to a quiet night. Every month, the moon salutation is practiced to bring more yin aspects into a dominantly yang world. We flow through this sequence to channel the calming lunar energy, opening our bodies and minds to peace and relaxation. Regular practice of the moon salutation has shown to help insomnia and reduce stress. Chandra Namaskar, Sanskrit for the moon salutation, is the yin counterpart to the Surya Namaskar or sun salutation. The more popular sun salutation is a fast and upbeat sequence meant to energize the body for the day ahead. During the moon salutation, we flow slowly through postures meant to mimic the phases of the moon. Instead of bringing energy into our bodies like the sunrise, we are releasing it and breathing in peaceful relaxation.
Chandra Namaskar sequence accoring to YogaPostures.com
- To begin, stand in the Prayer Position (Namaste). Make sure feet are just a bit wider than hip-width apart, your toes are turned out slightly, and your palms are together in front of your chest.
- As you inhale, raise your arms over your head. Keep your shoulders and bring our arms about 3 feet apart in a V position. Separate your fingers and raise your head to the ceiling. You are now a 5-pointed star.
- As you exhale, separate your feet about three feet and bend your knows and elbows about 90º. You are now in the Victory Squat (Vijaya Asana) position.
- As you inhale, bring your feet close together beneath your hips. Raise your arms and clasp your hands over your head. Look up to your hands being careful not to strain your neck.
- As you inhale, lower your head. Lower your arms and cross them at the wrists in front of you.
- Inhale. As you exhale, return to the Victory Squat (Vijaya Asana) position.
- As you inhale, bring your head back to a neutral center position and form a T by raising your arms to shoulder level.
- As you exhale, go into the Triangle Pose (Trikonasana.) Put your right arm into your right leg and bend your body to the right as far as feels comfortable.
- As you inhale, raise your body and return to the T position.
- Exhale and repeat the Triangle Pose (Trikonasana) on the left side.
- Inhale and return to the T position once again.
- Exhale and return to the initial Prayer Position (Namaste.)
A successful yogi sees themselves in everything around them. When admiring the full moon tonight, consider looking into your heart and mind and opening yourself to receiving its soft energy.
For a detailed account of the Chandra Namaskar, check out Yin Yoga’s sequence.