If you are an Indian, you must've heard about the Surya Namaskar or the sun salutation. But did you know there's a Chandra Namaskar or Moon salutation too? Well, if you didn't but are curious to find out, this blog is for you.
Here we'll briefly talk about moon and sun salutation and how they're different. Also, we'll discuss the sequence, benefits of moon salutation, and ways to incorporate moon and sun salutation in your daily yoga routine.
What's the Difference Between Sun & Moon Salutation?
Sun salutation or Surya Namaskar means a salute to the sun. It is a set of 12 poses that are practiced usually at the start of a yoga class. The sun salutation helps create heat and energy and awaken your body.
On the other hand, the moon or Chandra Namaskar means a salute to the moon. Usually practiced in the evening, moon salutations help calm or soothe your body. You can also call it yoga to cool down. The poses in this salutation type kind of prepare you for a good night's sleep.
What is the Sequence of Moon Salutation?
While performing Chandra Namaskar is easy, it's hard to remember the steps. So, here's a list of all the moon salutation sequins along with an image:
- Urdhva Hastasana / Upward Salute: Open your eyes, breathe in and extend your arms outwards and upwards, intertwining your fingers, index fingers pointing skywards.
- Standing Crescent Pose: Breathe out and bend towards the right side, stretching long through the left side, all the way from the outer left foot to the tips of the index fingers. Keep your lower back up and draw the belly in. Breathe in the middle and bend to the left as you exhale. Breathe back to the center.
- Goddess Pose: Exhale, step the feet apart, toes pointing slightly out. Ease the knees and squat, holding the knees in line with the ankles and the back erect. Arms bend at the elbows to a 90-degree angle, fingers in Anjali mudra (thumb and forefinger touching).
- Utthita tadasana: Five-pointed star- Simply lift yourself from the squatting position and straighten the elbows. Hands parallel to the ground. Soften the shoulders and chest.
- Trikonasana / Triangle Pose: Inhale, turn both feet to the right, arms outstretched and parallel to the floor. Exhale, reach long over the right leg. Lower the right hand to the ankle or shin and extend the left arm to the sky. Inhale and rotate the chest to the sky.
- Parsvottonasana / Pyramid Pose: Exhale, take your left arm down to frame right foot with the right hand, rotate the back foot even further, and turn both hips forward to fold over your right (straight) leg.
- Lunge over a right foot: Inhale, step the left foot back and bend the right knee so you come into a lunge position. Make sure the knee stays in line with the ankle and push the left thigh up and back.
- Skandasana / Wide legged squat over right leg: Exhale, bring both hands to the floor to the big toe side of your right foot. Turn inwards on the ball of the right foot and rotate your body to the front of the mat. The left leg should be extended, and the toes should point to the ceiling. If your balance allows it, bring your hands together in Anjuli Mudra or keep your hands resting on the floor.
At this point, we turn towards the left leg and ‘rewind’ the poses we have already done.
- Skandasana / Wide legged squat over left leg: Exhale, bring both hands to the floor to the big toe side of your left foot. Turn inwards on the ball of the left foot and rotate your body to the front of the mat. The right leg should be extended, and the toes should point to the ceiling. If your balance allows it, bring your hands together in Anjuli Mudra or keep your hands resting on the floor.
- Lunge over left foot, right leg steps further back, both hands framing the left foot.
- Parsvottonasana / Pyramid Pose: exhale, right footsteps in a little, left leg straightens, level the hips, and come into Parvsottonasana folding over the left leg.
- Trikonasana/ Triangle Pose: Inhale, right foot readjusts, and the right arm extends upwards, rotating your chest to the sky. Exhale.
- Utthita tadasana: Five-pointed star- Simply raise yourself from the squatting position and straighten the elbows. Hands parallel to the ground. Relax the shoulders and chest
- Goddess Pose: Inhale, step the feet wide, toes pointing slightly out. Exhale, bend the knees, and come into Goddess pose squat.
- Urdhva Hastasana / Upward Salute: Inhale, step the feet back in, arms up towards the sky, hands clasped, index fingers extending.
What are the Benefits of Moon Salutation?
Moon salutation can help you channel the lunar energy, which is linked to creative, relaxing, and cool qualities. It can help your mind relax and achieve calmness. Also, moon salutations are useful during the summers when you need a quiet and cool presence.
What's more, Chandra Namaskar stretches your hamstrings, spine, legs, and even back. It means with Chandra Namaskar, you can strengthen your back, leg, arm, and stomach muscles. However, make sure to always perform the poses under expert supervision.
What is the Right Time to Perform Sun and Moon Salutation?
Although it's recommended that one must do sun salutation early in the morning or when the sun is up, there's no harm in doing it in the evening. As a matter of fact, some yoga enthusiasts say that our body is stiff during the morning and recommend the evening as an ideal time for sun salutations.
Similar is the case with moon salutation. Moon salutations are ideally performed before you go to bed or in the evening. However, yoga enthusiasts see no harm in trying moon sequences in the morning. After all, everyone has a different routine.
Also check: Yoga mudras for a better sleep
How Can you Incorporate Sun and Moon Salutation into Your Daily Yoga Routine?
When it comes to sun salutations, you can perform them at the start of a long yoga session. And you can do the same when the class/session ends.
For moon salutation, during the summers, you can do that at the start of your yoga session. Also, you can perform moon salutations individually and practice for perfection.
Whatever you do, just connect with your deeper self and feel the serenity. Only then you'll be able to make the most of yoga.
Chandra Namaskar, maybe a little newer, offers some cool benefits like strengthening your back, arms, legs, and abdomen. It also helps you feel relaxed and calm. Also, it's easy to practice and master if you follow the image and video mentioned earlier on this blog. So, add moon salutation and sun salutation to your daily routine and enjoy the benefits.