Anyone who practices yoga is familiar with Sun Salutations. Somewhat less known are Moon Salutations. The Moon Salutation is a series of postures (asanas) done in sequence in honor of the moon and its special energies.
The moon has long captivated our imaginations and is rich with symbolism. It seemed nothing short of miraculous when the first astronaut actually walk on the surface of the moon. During the full moon phase, moon energy is at its strongest and thought to be magical. The full moon has been brilliantly gorgeous these past couple of evenings. While looking out my back window last night, I could easily feel mysticism in the air! It was like the cool fantasy land you imagine as a kid where wizards and dragons hang out.
The moon represents the mother and the feminine (yin) principle. It is connected to the cyclic nature and rhythms of life and is associated with intuition, shadow, balance and influence. Moon Salutations are less invigorating than Sun Salutations tend to turn our focus inward, nurturing a sense of calm.
There are many versions of the Moon Salutation. The version illustrated below is a beautiful sequence I learned from my yoga mentor and comes from the Kripalu tradition. It is a series of lateral bends. Side bends are great for opening and stretching the muscles along the side of the torso, massaging the intestines, opening the pelvis and increasing mobility in the spine.
During this full moon phase, why not give the Moon Salutation a try? You can practice it in a flowing manner, following your breath or hold each posture for a number of breaths (3-5).
* Note: Coming into each pose, focus on lengthening the spine first in order to create space between the vertebrae, making it easier to side bend without compressing the intervertebral discs.