Chandra Namaskara ( Moon Salutation )
4 Jul 2021 HYN Himalayan Yoga Academy
Thw word Chandra means `moon’,having no light of its own,reflects the light of the sun,so the practice of Chandra namaskara reflects that of surya namaskara .The sequence of asanas is the same as surya namaskara expect that ardha chandrasana .Also ,in ashwa sanchalanasana the left leg is extended back in the first half of the round ,activating ida nadi ,the lunar force .In the second half of the round ,the right leg is extended back .The inclusions of ardha chandrasana is a significant change.This posture develops balance and concedntration ,adding another dimensions to the practice .A further effect is that the breathing pattern becomes more demanding inhalation ,exhalation and breathe retention are all prolonged.
Whereas the twelve positions of surya namaskara relate to the twelve zodiax sign or solar phases of the year, the fourteen positions of Chandra namaskara relate to the fourteen lunar phases. In the lunar calendar the fourteen days before fortnight ,and the fourteen days after the full moon are known as shukla paksha ,the bright fortnight ,and the fourteen days after the full moon are known as Krishna paksha ,the dark fortnight .
The lunar energy flows within ida nadi. It has cool, relaxing and creative qualities. Ida is the introverted ,feminine or mental force which is responsible for consciousness.
Preparation of Chandra Namaskara ( Moon Salutation )
It is advisable to learn surya namaskara before attempting Chandra namaskara as the postures are the same for both ,exceot for one extra pose .In Chandra Namaskara the added pose ,ardha chandrasana ,is inserted iin the sequence at positions5 and 11 ,in the first half of the round ,and positions 19 and 25 in the second .Ardha chandrasana is described an an independent practice in the backward bending section .Its insertion as position 5 prolongs the exhalation and external retention through position 6 and 7 (parvatasana and ashtanga namaskara )Its insertion as postion 11 similarly lengthnens inhalation and then exhalation into padahastasana.
Time of practice
Chandra namaskara is best practiced in the evening or at night ,especially when the moon is visible ,or at dawn at the time of the full moon.When practicing at night ,ensure that stomach is empty.
-Before beginning Chandra namaskara ,a few moments should be given to prepare the body and mind .
-Stand in the upright position with the feet together ,the eyes closed and the arms at the sides .The weight of the body should be evenly distributed on both feet .Observe any spontaneous movement of the body as it relaxes.
-Gradually become more aware of the natural flow of the breathe with each inhalation and exhalation ,Then include awareness of the movement in the body with the rhythm of the breathe .Retain this awareness for a few moments.
-Slowly withdraw the awareness form the breathe and become aware of bhrumadhya ,the space between the eyebrows .Within this space ,visualize the full moon in a clear night sky ,shining brightly upon the waves of the ocean.The full reflection of the moon penetrates the deep waters and the cool shade of moonlight catches the tops of the waves as they dance .See the image clearly and develop awareness of any feelings or sensations that are created in the mind and body .
-Slowly let the visualization fade and again becoe aware of the whole body in the standing position.
Ardha chandrasana (Half moon pose)
- 1.With the left leg extended back,maintain the balance in the full stretch of ashwa sanchalanasana ,raise the hands and stretch both arms over the head,keeping the arms shoulder width apart .Arch the back and look up,raising the chin.
- 2.There should be a gentle curve from the tips of the fingers to the tips of the toes ,resembling a crescent moon.
- 3.Hold the pose for a short time.
- 4.Lower the arms and place the hands on each side of front foot.
- Inhale deeply while raising the arms ,arching the back and bending the head back.
- Retain the breathe inside while holding the posture for a few seconds.
- Start exhalation while lowering the arms..
- Physical-on the smooth controlled movement and balance
- Spiritual-on vishuddhi chakra.
Position 1 : Pranamasana (prayer pose )
Mantra :Om Kameshvaryai Namaha ,salutationsto one who fulfills desires.
Position 2 : Hasta utthanasana( raised arm pose)
Mantra:Om Bhagamalinyi Namaha,salutations to one who wears the garland of prosperity.
Position 3 : Padahastasana (hand to foot pose)
Mantra:Om Nityaklinnayai Namaha,salutations to one who is ever compassionate.
Position 4:Ashwa Sanchalasana (equestrian pose)
Mantra:Om Bherundayai Namaha,salutations to one who is ferocious .
Position5:Ardha Chandrasana (Half moon pose)
Mantra :Om Vahnivasinyai Namaha,salutations to one who resides in fire.
Position 6 : Parvatasana (mountain pose)
Mantra:Om Vajreshvaryai Namaha,salutations to one who possesses vajra ,the thunderbolt ,and is adorned with diamond ornaments.
Position7 : Ashtanga Namaskara(salute with 8 parts)
Mantra :Om Dutyai Namaha,salutations to one whose messenger is Shiva.
Position 8 : Bhujangasana (cobra pose)
Mantra :Om Dutyai Namaha ,salutations to one who is swift.
Position 9 : Parvatasana ( mountain pose)
Mantra:Om Kulasundaryai Namaha,salutation to one who is virtuous ,repectable and charming.
Position 10 : Ashwa Sanchalasana (equestrian pose)
Mantra:Om Nityayai Namaha ,salutations to one who is eternal .
Position 11 : Ardha Chandrasana (half moon pose )
Mantra :Om Nilapatakinyai Namaha,salutations to one who is adorned with a blue flag.
Position12 : Padahastasana (hand to foot pose)
Mantra:Om Sarvamangalayai Namaha ,salutations to one whonis ever victorious .
Position 13: Hasta Utthanasana (raised arms pose)
Mantra Om Sarvamangalayai Namaha ,salutations to one who is the source of all good fortune .
Position 14 : Pranamasana (prayer pose)
Mantra:Om jvalamalinyai Namaha ,salutations to one who is fenced with instant flames.
Positions 15-28: Positions 1-14 form the first half of the round and positions 15-28 form the second .In the second half ,the same mantras are repeated consecutively and the same positions are repeated with the following changes.
a)in positon 18,ashwa sanchalanasana ,instead of stretching the left foot backward ,stretch the right foot back.
b)in position 24 ,the same pose ,bend the left knee ,bringing the left foot forward between the hands .
Practice :Ardha chandrasana emphasizes the link with the lunar energies set up by the preparatory visualizations .Also ,in Chandra namaskara the force of each asana is changed subtly by the repetition of mantras related to the lunar energies.
Conclusion : After completing the desired numver of rounds ,stand upright with the eyes closed ,the hands by the sides of the body and again visualize the full moon shining over the waves of the ocean until the body becomes steady .Relax in shavasana.
Duration:For spiritual benefits ,slowly practice 3 to 7 rounds .
For physical benefits ,practise 3 to 7 rounds more quickly .