Benefits of Moon Salutations

by | Aug 30, 2022 | Nurturing Your Practice

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Sun salutations are often practiced in vinyasa yoga classes and the name is known if not familiar to a lot of people. So, what about the Moon Salutation? We know that sun salutations and moon salutations embody different qualities just as the sun and the moon themselves. The sun has solar qualities and represents warmth and a more masculine energy whereas the moon has lunar qualities and represents coolness, groundedness, and feminine energy. With that being said, it is a bit more clear to see the ways in which we can learn from and utilize each type of namaskar based on what they have to offer. 

When sequencing a vinyasa yoga class, sun salutations are a very common building block that teachers use. Since they aren’t as commonly mentioned or used, a question that is often asked is if moon salutations are utilized in the same way.  The answer — absolutely!  When we sequence a vinyasa class, we are typically looking to build heat and move energy through the body. This is why sun salutations are such a great tool for vinyasa yoga classes since moon salutations are cooling rather than warming. When we think of how the sequencing for a vinyasa yoga class typically flows, the cooldown portion of class might be a wonderful time to bring in a moon salutation. For example, you could incorporate a moon salutation as your last round of a flow in a vinyasa sequence before moving into your cooldown and savasana. You can also practice moon salutations as a stand-alone practice to bring out meditative and receptive states of being. They can be a wonderful tool to utilize at night to encourage release of heat and energy and usher in a quieter, more regenerative state. And of course, because of their namesake, it can be especially lovely to practice moon salutations when the moon is out, and even during the major parts of the lunar cycle. 

What are the benefits of a moon salutation? As briefly mentioned above, moon salutations help us to feel more grounded. They incorporate specific asanas that express the root chakra and encourage feelings of being balanced, connected, and rooted. They also allow us to release heat and come into more cooling qualities, just like the moon herself. They help support the practitioner in feeling calmer and at ease. Let’s take a moment and break down the asana that make up a moon salutation. 

Moon Salutation:

We begin in Tadasana, standing at the top of the mat with feet in a comfortable position and hands at heart center. 

Moon salutation:

  • Upward facing salute (inhale)
  • Crescent stretch (exhale)
  • Upward facing salute (inhale)
  • Crescent stretch, second side (exhale)
  • Upward facing salute (inhale)
  • Goddess squat (exhale)
  • Triangle pose (inhale)
  • Pyramid pose (exhale)
  • Low lunge (inhale)
  • Skandasana, bending into front leg (exhale)
  • Goddess squat (inhale)
  • Skandasana, second side (exhale)
  • Low lunge, second side (inhale)
  • Pyramid pose, second side (exhale)
  • Triangle pose, second side (inhale)
  • Goddess squat (exhale)
  • Upward facing salute (inhale)
  • Tadasana (exhale)

As you can see, with the addition of goddess squat we also have skandasana on both sides. Both of these postures are associated with the root chakra and are known to support feelings of groundedness and security. There is a huge component of hip mobility as well, with triangle pose and the aforementioned postures. The sequence works through the lower body and is good for anyone who does not want to bear weight on the arms. Because of its simplicity, the moon salutation can be great for beginners. It is easy to learn and follow so that yogis of all abilities are able to add this sequence to their yogic and self-care toolkit to be used on their own.

Props are a really nice addition to a moon salutation for added feelings of support. Yoga props, such as blocks under the hands for the transition of low lunge to tadasana can be helpful to add space for the practitioner to move fluidly and with ease.  Blocks are also wonderful for pyramid pose and triangle pose to bring underneath the hands and allow the practitioner to experience the fold with proper alignment. Finally, a blanket lightly folded across the mat would be a beautiful way to pad the knee in low lunge. These are just a few ways to emphasize the grounding benefits of a moon salutation.

As we’ve learned, not only can moon salutations be utilized to sequence vinyasa yoga classes, but they can also be utilized in one’s self-practice. When we understand the benefits and the reason behind why we practice yoga the way that we do, we can create more specialized and, therefore, supportive practices to meet ourselves exactly as we are in each moment. You can experience these different types of yoga for yourself to see how they affect you as a unique individual. My Vinyasa Practice offers live stream & on-demand yoga classes for yogis around the world to tap into their self-study practices from wherever they might be.  We also offer online yoga teacher training that is self-paced and Yoga Alliance approved

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