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Salute the Full Moon with a Yoga Moon Salutation

With the Full Moon passing this Fitness Friday, I encourage you all to take a moment and salute the moon. The Moon Salutation series in yoga, also known as “Chandra Namaskara,” is a series of interconnected postures that pay tribute to the power of the moon and its particular influence on the earth and our lives. A full moon completes the cycle, at most it represents change. Symbolically, it represents the end of a chapter- the promise of shedding light on the things we may no longer need to hold on to (i.e. inactivity, stress, etc.). Thus, performing the moon salutation series will encourage many things. For some, it will encourage something new, a new light- a yoga practice. For others, it will honor light toward better flexibility, improved balance, strength, creativity, fitness and overall health.

The moon salutation is characteristically practiced in the afternoon, evening and or night, when the moon is in ascendancy. But, the sequence can be practiced anytime as it generously offers a full body workout.

1. Begin in Mountain (or standing) pose. Take a deep breath in. On your inhalation bring your awareness to your stability. The strength in your legs; the power in your core; the openness and acceptance in your heart; as well as the expansion and growth from your roots to the crown of your head. Experience the stillness, the calmness and the ease of your mountain pose. Exhale completely. Follow with yet another deep inhalation, and on the exhalation this time simply open your practice by saying the term “Namaste” (na-ma-stay). A term we generally close the class with however, today- in efforts to honor the light of the moon as well as our own, “namaste” is light-fully appropriate! Simply take a moment now to acknowledge and bless the light within.

2-6. Breathe in and bring the arms up- into a skyward extension. Meet the hands together as you reach up into the sky. On the exhale, reach to the left to transform yourself into the crescent moon.

Inhale into the upward extension again, and on the exhale reach to the right. This time re-forming the crescent moon and balancing the left and right hemispheres of the brain. Inhale back to center. Exhale to set.

7. Breathe in and step wide. Point your toes out, keeping your knees bent and your back straight (sumo-squat). Bring your arms into right angles with the palms facing the ears. Exhale as you form the upward facing crescent: the sacred chalice of life.

8. Inhale to straighten the legs and extend the arms out into a “T.” Exhale as you experience a sense of infinity.

9. Inhale to reach into triangle posture. Reach for the right ankle or the floor. Reach the left arm to the sky. Exhale as you reach higher- lengthening and reaching towards your highest aspiration.

10. Inhale as you square your hips and turn downward over the right leg. Bring your left arm down and grasp both hands above the right ankle. Extend the spine forward while gazing slightly upward. Exhale as you shine your light forward.

11. Inhale as you carefully guide the left knee down to the mat (remember to use a pillow or blanket if you need extra support). The right knee shall remain bent, in a deep lunge (weight remaining in heel). Balance and lift both arms skyward, straight up as if you were hugging your ears and reaching for the sky. Exhale as you become the peaceful warrior.

12. Inhale as you drop your hands to the floor. Extend the back leg straight spinning the back heel to a 45 degree angle. Place your right hand on the inside of the foot, palm aligning with heel. Reach your left arm over your head, palm facing down. Embrace the full side angle as you open your heart and shine it to the sky. Exhale as you create a side angle line with your left leg and left arm.

13. On your next inhalation, using your abdominal strength, windmill up to your five pointed star.

14-25…Simply repeat the sequence in reverse order and on opposing sides.

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