Sun and Moon seeking balance….
In our yoga practice and in our lives, we can observe the power of opposites. Yin and Yang, ebb and flow, contraction and expansion, effort and surrender – when we take a moment to step back and reflect on these opposites we can see the qualities and benefits of each side, helping us to find balance and unity.
Sun Salutations could be described as a yang practice, related to activity, heat and light, whilst Moon Salutations are associated with a yin practice (although Saltburns 9:00am didn’t experience a cooler session)– receptive, meditative and cooling. Yin and yang (dark and light, day and night,etc.) they are utterly interdependent. In the same way, although Sun and Moon salutation sequences embrace different qualities, they complement each other perfectly. The yogic term Hatha also reflects this – Ha referring to the masculine, warming, active energy of the sun and tha – the feminine, cooling, receptive elements of the moon. Hatha yoga, therefore, seeks to unify these apparently opposing elements, creating harmony and balance.
While sun salutations are used to awaken the body and create energy and heat, the Moon Salutations can be used as a restorative sequence to cool and soothe the body. They are especially nice to do in the evening as the meditative, calming quality of the poses helps to form a stronger connection to the breath, preparing the body and the mind for a restful night’s sleep. Although I did take Saltburn through it in the morning which may have been why some of you felt a bit brain busted.
Chandra Namaskar; Like Sun Salutations there are many variations of the Moon Salutation sequence. In the version, we did in class, we faced the long edge of your mat moving first to one side and then to the other. Imagine that the side stretches and circular motion of the sequence represent the waxing and waning phases of the moon.
As the Moon Salutation sequence focuses mainly on the lower body, it’s great for people who have trouble resting their body weight onto their arms and there are many physical benefits to the practice. The exercise stretches and strengthens all of the major muscle groups, aids flexibility and increases the functioning and balance of the respiratory, circulatory and digestive systems.