The Moon Salutation was created by a group of senior female teachers at the Kripalu Center in the late 1980s. Their goal was to honor women’s bodies and women’s rhythms while also complementing the Sun Salutation.
Steps for Chandra Namaskar:
Begin your practice with a short meditation, to cultivate your connection with the moon.
Below are the steps for a traditional Chandra Namaskara:
- Tadasana: Stand with your feet together, body aligned with breath. Bring the palms together like joining them during prayer, stretch the hands over the head and lengthen the spine. Remain in this position and take a few breaths before proceeding to the next asana.
- Chandrasana: Inhale deeply and bend to the left side, exhale as you bend. However, be careful to only tilt sideways and not forward or back.
- Utkatakonasana: Return to the centre, step the feet apart and turn slightly out. Inhale, and as you exhale, bend your knees, with thighs parallel to the ground. Keep forearm at 90 degrees to the arms, and palms facing you.
- Uthita tadasana: Slowly raise yourself from the squatting position and straighten the elbows. Keep hands parallel to the ground, while relaxing chest and shoulders.
- Trikonasana: Step the left foot out and slide down to the left side. Extend the right hand up. This improves the spine flexibility and rectifies misalignment of shoulders.
- Parsvottanasana: Bring the head to touch the left knee, relax both hands down on the left foot. This asana helps improve posture and sense of balance. It also improves digestion and lengthens the muscles on calves of the leg.
- Left side Lunge: Bend both knees and move into lunge on the left side, while looking to your left.
- Forward facing lunge: Straighten the right knee, do forward facing lunge, and bring both hands in front on the floor.
- Malasana: Squat with feet placed firmly on the floor and palms joined in front of you.
- Forward facing lunge: Repeat step 8, but, bend right knee and straighten the left, and place palms on the floor.
- Right side lunge: Lunge to the right side and look to your right.
- Parvottanasana: Straighten both knees and bring your head to rest on the right knee, with both hands near the right foot.
- Trikonasana: Move up into triangle pose.
- Uthita tadasana: Straighten knees and elbows.
- Utkata konasana: Repeat step 3
- Tiryaka tadasana: Join your hands in prayer position, extended overhead, bend to your right side
- Tadasana: Conclude one sequence, and return to original position, with hands in prayer position and extended overhead.
Chandra Namaskar is a quieting sequence that invites you to bow and cultivate the moon’s soothing lunar energy. For women with a menstrual cycle, Chandra Namaskar can be a balm for low-energy days.