Sun salutations are a key part of yoga that all yogis are aware of and most practice as well. Chandra Namaskara or moon salutation is another sequence of asanas that are practiced under certain types of yoga. This sequence consists of a series of ten different poses, which start with the mountain pose and lead the practitioner through a number of postures to complete a salutation. There are a few variations of the Chandra Namaskara series, but most of them focus on the different phases of the moon for inspiration of the cycle. These vinyasa style yoga sessions are often times provided to counteract the impact of the Surya Namaskara.
Asanas for Chandra Namaskara:
The most commonly practiced moon salutation sequence consists of a string of the following postures:
Raised Arms Pose
Standing Forward bend
Downward facing Dog Pose
A combination of Ashtanga Namaskara and Cobra Pose
Repetition of the first five Asanas in reverse order: beginning with Downward Facing Dog and ending with Mountain Pose.
There are a number of other variations that have evolved based on the gurus that teach them. Each is designed to cater to the different needs of the yogi who practices it.
Benefits of Moon Salutation:
Yoga as a whole leads to numerous benefits for the avid practitioner. When broken down in terms of asana or series advantages, then it becomes apparent that there is no part that is fruitless. There are health as well as fitness gains that can be accomplished from the practice of moon salutation as a standard part of the yoga. A few of these are listed:
- It is very helpful in channeling the lunar energy and inducing relaxation and creative practices
- It stretches and relaxes the spinal, pelvic area, hips, knees, ankles and the abdominal muscles.
- The root chakra is opened with these exercises.
- Toxins are removed and blood circulation is improved along with maximizing the oxygen intake for better blood flow.
- Improved circulation provides a sense of well being and Promotes a healthy self.
- Relaxes the mind and body and allows centering of the focus on the inner self.
The benefits are not limited to these, in fact as the moon salutations are performed at night, one of its most important advantages is that it proves to be great relaxer and sleep inducer. People suffering from insomnia in particular can reap the benefits of Chandra Namaskara, as it removes the stress and soothes the mind and body for a long night of peace and rest.
Although the benefits are numerous, at the same time caution needs to be taken when practicing moon salutations as well. As the series mostly involves a combination of standing and back bending postures, it is not suitable for people suffering from asthma or other breathing and lung problems. In addition, patients of heart problems should consult their medical practitioners before starting these salutations, or streamline them according to their health limitations. The Chandra Namaskara should entail comfortable and relaxing postures and not in any way be the cause of stress or strain.