With the coming of last Friday’s full moon, my yin class took on a gentle flow just as that glowing orb took flight in our night sky. While most of us are familiar with the flow of the Sun Salutation or Surya Namaskar, stimulating heat and yang energy in the body, the Moon Salutation sequence offers a soothing alternative that honours our nurturing, calming yin energy. It creates the perfect counter balance to our non-stop overactive lifestyles.
The full moon is thought to be a powerful, healing force. This makes it is a natural time for creativity and the nurturing forces within us. A time of slowing down, cooling out, quietly observing our relationships and expressing gratitude. We humans are drawn to hot, stimulating, energizing things and are all to quick to forget things that are cooling, require introspection, reflection, healing and with that: transformation.
Teaching yin on Friday nights at The Secret Space feels like a particularly magical part of my week, and none so much as this Friday just gone. So I wanted to share this beautiful sequence and encourage you to practice it any time you are looking to access and cultivate the nurturing, creative, sensual side of your nature, when you’re feeling depleted, overstimulated or overheated. This quieting flow invites you to go inside and listen to your intuition and your heart.
There are many variations of the moon salutation, however below is a step by step guide to the sequence we followed on Friday night. Alternatively, scroll down and follow along with the video version at the end of this post. This gentle, flowing variation is suitable for all levels. Remember to always breathe through your nose, extend on an inhale and bend on an exhale. Repeat this sequence as many times as you like. Ten rounds before bed is a beautiful way to wind down both physically and mentally at the end of your day.
1. Mountain Pose or Tadasana.
Begin the sequence in a mountain pose for a few breaths, while pressing your palms together in front of your heart.
2. Upward Salute or Urdhva Hastasana (Side Bend Variation)
Inhale to bring your arms out to the side and up above your head. Keep your feet together and exhale to bend your upper torso to the left. Inhale back to the center and repeat to the right side. Exhale to release your arms.
3. Goddess Squat or Utkata Konasana
Inhale to step your feet wide apart, toes pointing out. Exhale to lower the hips, bending the knees over your toes, the upper body coming into cactus arms.
4. Star Pose
Inhale to straighten the legs and stretch your arms out at shoulder-height. Palms facing forward, fingers spread. Exhale send the hands slightly behind you, opening through the chest.
5. Triangle Pose or Utthita Trikonasana
Rotate your left foot 90 degrees and exhale to move into your triangle. Rest your hand on a brick if it doesn’t reach the floor or ankle comfortably. Inhale to open through the chest and expand through the arms.
6. Pyramid Pose or Parsvottanasana
On an inhalation, lower your right hand and turn your torso to the left. Exhale to fold forward over your left leg. Place both hands on your lower leg, foot or on the floor.
7. Low Crescent Lunge or Anjaneyasana
On an inhale, bend your left knee and place the fingertips of both hands on each side of your left foot on the floor. Exhale to drop the back knee. Inhale to reach the arms to the sky or simply rest the hands on the left thigh and lift the chest.
8. Low Side Lunge
Inhale to place both hands on the inside of your left foot. Rotate your left leg forward, but keep your knee bent. Exhale to turn your right toes forward, make sure to keep your right leg straight and your hands either on the floor or on your right thigh.
9. Garland Pose or Malasana
Inhale and come to a squat position, pushing your elbows against the inside of your knees. Keep your spine straight and bring your palms in a prayer position in front of your chest and exhale.
10. Low Side Lunge
Inhale to move across to a low side lunge on the right.
11. Low Crescent Lunge or Anjaneyasana
Exhale to place the back knee down and rotate into a low lunge on the right. Inhale to take your arm variation and flow the hands back to the floor as you exhale.
12. Pyramid Pose or Parsvottanasana
Straighten both legs on an inhale and exhale to fold over your right leg with your arm variation.
13. Triangle Pose or Utthita Trikonasana
Inhale open into triangle pose on your right leg. Exhale to look up to the top fingertips.
14. Star pose
Inhale and come up to star pose and exhale to open your chest, extending your arms slightly back and lifting the gaze.
15. Goddess squat
Exhale, bend your knees, lower your hips into a goddess squat.
16. Upward Salute or Urdhva Hastasana (Side Bend Variation)
Inhale to bring your arms out to the side and up above your head. Keep your feet together and exhale to bend your upper torso to the right. Inhale back to the center and repeat to the left side. Exhale to release your arms.