Posts Tagged ‘chandra namaskar’

An Introduction to Chandra Namaskar

Monday, April 9th, 2012

power yoga teacher training intensiveBy Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500

Yoga is a path toward creating balance in the physical, mental, and spiritual bodies. There are various forms of Yoga that focus on each dimension; “Hatha Yoga” is the practice that concentrates on the physical body. In Hatha Yoga, students use physical postures to practice balancing opposites; For example, effort and surrender, strength and flexibility. As many of you know, “ha” means sun, and “tha” means moon; thus, Hatha Yoga represents the balancing of masculine and feminine energies that exist within all beings.

The ancient Yogis had a deep appreciation for this concept of balance, and they practiced sequences of Yoga postures called “namaskars,” that provided opportunities to reflect on this idea. A popular Yoga sequence is Surya Namaskar, which loosely translates as “salutations to the sun.” When one practices Surya Namaskar, he or she honors the sun, masculine energy, light and warmth. The balancing sequence to Surya Namaskar is Chandra Namaskar, salutations to the moon. The practice of Chandra Namaskar pays reverence to the moon, feminine energy, dark and coolness.

Over the years, numerous variations of Chandra Namaskar (Moon Salutation) have emerged. Usually, the sequence includes the following postures:

Mountain Pose

Mountain Pose: pressing palms together overhead

Crescent Moon Pose: arching to the left

Mountain Pose: pressing palms together overhead

Goddess Pose: squatting with arms at sides in an L-shape and palms forward

Five Pointed Star Pose: standing with legs apart and extending arms out to the sides

Triangle Pose, extending to the left

Head to Knee Pose: standing with left leg in front

Lunge: bending left knee and lowering right knee to the ground

Extended Side Angle Pose: bending left knee and extending right leg

Five Pointed Star Pose: standing with legs apart and extending arms out to the sides

Extended Side Angle Pose: bending right knee and extending left leg

Lunge: bending right knee and lowering left knee to the ground

Head to Knee Pose: standing with right leg in front

Triangle Pose: extending to the right

Five Pointed Star Pose: standing with legs apart and extending arms out to the sides

Goddess Pose: squatting with arms at sides in an L-shape and palms forward

Mountain Pose: pressing palms together overhead

Crescent Moon Pose: arching to the right

Mountain Pose: pressing palms together overhead

Mountain Pose

The best time to practice Chandra Namaskar is during calm and peaceful occasions, such as winter and nighttime. Ideally, one practices lunar salutations outdoors under a full moon.  However, there is some debate about practicing Moon Salutations on the full moon day, which some traditions honor as a sacred day of rest. 

© Copyright 2012 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

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What Are Moon Salutations?

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

become a yoga instructorBy Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500

A Moon Salutation, Lunar Flow, or Chandra Namaskar, is basically the opposite of a Sun Salutation. Where the Sun Salutation brings heat and energy into the body, the Moon Salutation brings calm and relaxation. The Lunar Flow provides a counter balance to the Sun Salutation and is often done at the end of an evening Yoga asana session. Moon Salutations are often practiced at night – when you want to unwind after a long day.

A Lunar Flow honors the feminine energy within the body, as opposed to the masculine nature of a Sun Salutation. Both men and women can perform Moon Salutations and Sun Salutations, of course. They help shift the energy within the body, providing balance and calm to the mind and body. They can help uncover inner qualities – such as wisdom, creativity, and intelligence. Chandra Namaskar can open up the path toward inner calm and provide balance to the mind and body.

Although Moon Salutations can be practiced throughout the month, some Yoga practitioners believe that practicing them under a full moon can be particularly powerful. However, in some traditions, Yoga is not practiced during a full or new moon, keeping these as sacred days of rest.

There are several variations of Chandra Namaskar. It is a series of flowing poses, where the body moves fluidly with each deep inhale and exhale. For the following variation, begin in Mountain pose, then transition to a Crescent Moon side bend, then Goddess pose, Star pose, Triangle pose, Head to Knee pose, Lunge, Squat, Lunge on the opposite side, Head to Knee with the opposite leg, and complete the series by performing the poses in the reverse order, until you are back to Mountain pose.

Remember to breathe deeply, and slowly, with each new pose. This sets a much slower pace than most flowing asana sequences. Focus on your breath, while bringing inner calm and peace into the mind and body. You may repeat the Moon Salutation, as many times as you want; but if you intend on sleeping, four rounds should be the maximum, and it may be useful to practice stage-by-stage relaxation after you have finished your asana session.

If you prefer a more calming option for the start of the day, you might even try Moon Salutations in the morning. This is not a traditional approach, but it is up to each individual to decide when they feel a Moon Salutation would benefit them the most. Yoga instructors, teaching a group of students, who want to release stress, will probably benefit the class most by performing the Moon Salutation after warming up and at the beginning of an evening asana session, to send students away feeling calm and centered.

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Designing a Safe Yoga Asana Sequence

Friday, May 20th, 2011

yoga teacher trainingBy Sangeetha Saran

Your human body is designed to move, move, and move! It is not, however, designed to move in all shapes and forms. When designing a safe Yoga Asana sequence, it’s important to remember one thing: Don’t take chances.

Three things to consider before designing any Yoga Asana sequence:

1. Make sure you are practicing in a comfortable position and safe position. Clear anything out of your way on the floor or on the tables. You don’t want your computer monitor, for example, to suddenly create a new hole in your floor – the size of your foot.

2. Make sure that you do not stretch your body in a different shape than it is supposed to be in. Be very careful with any sequence steps regarding your head, neck, and arms. As your arms are going to be supporting your body weight any time you bend, you may need to limit your bending sequence activities.

3. Make sure that you feel comfortable with the Asana sequence. Yoga is all about being kind to your body.

Step one: Decide how many sequence steps the sequence is going to have. This may seem obvious, but think about it: how many steps is your asana sequence going to have? Don’t allow it to have too many, because otherwise you’ll be completely exhausted. Instead, just relax, take a deep breath and decide the number of steps that you can complete. Remember that you can always add more steps later.

Step one, part A: Design the first move of the sequence. Design each move of the sequence, and make sure that it is safe. Watch videos from other Asana sequences. To first begin the sequence, you should be on the floor, not moving. Some people will start the sequence sitting normally, while others will just sit down.

Your hands will likely be residing in your lap for this sequence. Deciding how you are going to sit will help decide when to start your sequence.

Step Two: Design the next moves of your sequence.

Design the following moves of your sequence. How you design this will ultimately depend upon you and your preferences of Yoga learning and how you best interact. Some people prefer to sit their Yoga sequence sitting in a certain position with their arms crossed and move to other positions. Other people prefer to start standing up.

Yoga Asana Sequence Example:

Start standing up; spread out your arms to their full length. Then, maneuver your legs to a wider position. Move from there to touch your leg with your hand, and so on.

Asana sequences can be anything that you want them to be, but here are some good guidelines to follow:

1. Start sitting down. Spend a few minutes relaxing your mind so that you can clear it of all the thoughts that might be destructive to your Yoga practice.

2. Move slowly to a standing position. Do not strain your body by making a sudden move too fast.

3. Throw in a few classic Yoga poses that are used in almost every sequence. The Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutations) in morning hours and Chandra Namaskar (Lunar Flow) during the evening are two great ideas for working with classic sequences. You can always add your own creativity later.

4. Remember to cool down after your Yoga Asana sequence is complete.

© Copyright 2011 – Aura Publications

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