chandra namaskara

ahimsaka satya chandra namaskara

salutations to the moon
As there are many variations of sun salutations, there are also different variations of moon salutations. Often less know though, or mixed as variations within sun salutations.  The moon salutations add lunar energy to a solar energy dominated practice, create harmony, and can be a grounding, calming end to a session of sun salutations.
The following sequence of a moon salutation series, can be practiced as a stand alone practice, for a more grounding and calming practice. Or as a start for more “yin-yoga”, lunar energy, focused practice.  Where the classical sun salutations predominately alternate between forward bends and back bends, this sequence of moon salutations focuses more on side stretching and twisting. It is a complementary asana sequence, when combined with classical sun salutations gives full range of movements to the spine. 
Whereas the twelve positions of surya namaskara relate to the twelve zodiac or solar phases of the year, the fourteen positions of chandra namaskara relate to the fourteen lunar phases. In the lunar calendar the fourteen days before the full moon are known as sukla paksha, the bright fortnight, and the fourteen days after the full moon are known as krishna paksha, the dark fortnight. The name of each day introduces each asana and is used as a basis for learning the days of the lunar cycle. Doing both both the left and right site, all the lunar phases are being passed.
The lunar energy flows within ida nadi, relating to the para-sympathetic nervous system in our physical  body. It has a cool, relaxing and creative qualities. It has a introverted or mental force and is responsible for consciousness.
When practicing the chandra namaskara as a stand alone practice, honoring the moon, it is best practiced at night, especially when the moon is visible, or at dawn at the time of the full moon. Be aware of the different experiences giving by the changing aspects of the moon. Make sure the stomach is empty before starting the practice. Synchronize the movement with the breath and where the breath is in the body (where can the breath move freely and where is the breath restricted) while holding each position. For activating the ida nadi, start with the left leg first, and take the left side of the poses first. This will have a more calming and grounding effect. When in the “moon-pose” ( shashankasana, shashank also means moon in sanskrit as is the word chandra, also translated into hare or rabbit pose, or balasana, childpose, but in this variation keeping the hands to the front of the mat ), create a feeling of instant relaxation, surrendering the body and mind, and let the breath deepen. Visualizing a full moon shining over a dark blue ocean at night.
Suggested a slow practice of 3 to 7 sets.
Benefits;
Bringing the body and mind into a more calm, centered, peaceful state. Cooling for the brain and helps to eliminate anger. Side stretching helps facilitate the breath. Twists are purifying, stimulate the digestive system and give a nice massage to the internal organs. The asana help to relieve constipation, to release pressure from the spine and regulates the functioning of various glands in the body.
mantra’s accompanying the movements
1 om kamesvaryai namaha             salutations to she who fulfills desires
2 om bhagamalinyai namaha        salutations to she who wears the garland of              prosperity
3 om nityaklinnayai namaha        salutations to she who is ever compassionate
4 om bherundayai namaha            salutations to she who is ferocious
5 om vahnivasinyai namaha         salutations to she who resides in fire
6 om vajreshvaryai namaha          salutations to she who possesses vajra (the                                 thunderbolt) and is adorned with diamond ornaments
7 om dutyai namaha                         salutations to she whose messenger is shiva
8 om tvaritayai namaha                 salutations to she who is swift
9 om kulasundaryai namaha         salutations to she who is virtuous, respectable and                charming
10 om nityayai namaha                   salutations to she who is eternal
11 om nilapatakinyai namaha        salutations to she who is adorned with a blue flag
12 om vijayayai namaha                  salutations to she who is ever victorious
13 om sarvamangalayai namaha  salutations to she who is the source of all good                         fortunes
14 om jvalamalinyai namaha         salutations to she who is fenced with instant flames
the mantra (sanskrit for that what protects the mind) creates a back ground sound (noise), preventing other thoughts to arise, they create a vibration for the breath, a rhythm for the mind and a pattern for the body together with the movements.  The effect is a calming almost hypnotizing for the mind, making the movements go with ease and seemingly without effort.
breath; deep rhythmic breathing
round one, starting with left leg
pose 1 inhale and exhale, centering, moon pose arms forward on the mat, palms down
pose 2 inhale on knees hands at the chest, palms together
pose 3 exhale, left leg steps forward point hands and arms forward, palms together
pose 4 inhale take hands and arms to the sides, horizontal palms facing front
pose 5 exhale take left side first, left hand up, right hand down, stretching left side
pose 6 inhale back up, center
pose 7 exhale take right side, right hand up, left hand down, stretching right side
pose 8 inhale up and exhale left hand back, look over the left shoulder, right hand forward, twist
pose 9 inhale back to center
pose 10 exhale right hand back, look over the right shoulder, left hand forward, twist
pose 11 inhale back to center
pose 12 exhale hands together point hands and arms forward, palms together
pose 13 inhale, left leg goes back, on knees hands at the chest, palms together
pose 14 inhale and exhale, centering, moon pose, arms forward on the mat, palms down

round 2, same but starting with right leg and take right side first.
pose 15 inhale and exhale, centering, moon pose arms forward on the mat, palms down
pose 16 inhale on knees hands at the chest, palms together
pose 17 exhale, right leg steps forward point hands and arms forward, palms together
pose 18 inhale take hands and arms to the sides, horizontal palms facing front
pose 19 exhale take right side first, right hand up, left hand down, stretching right side
pose 20 inhale back up, center
pose 21 exhale take left side, left hand up, right hand down, stretching left side
pose 22 inhale up and exhale right hand back, look over the right shoulder, left hand forward, twist
pose 23 inhale back to center
pose 24 exhale left hand back, look over the left shoulder, right hand forward, twist
pose 25 inhale back to center
pose 26 exhale hands together point hands and arms forward, palms together
pose 27 inhale, left leg goes back, on knees hands at the chest, palms together
pose 28 inhale and exhale, centering, moon pose, arms forward on the mat, palms down

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