therapeutic yogaBy Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500

Chandra Namaskar, or the Moon Salutation, is a series of flowing Yoga poses used to unwind and refocus. It often begins in Mountain pose, then flows through a series of lunges and other poses. Afterward, the order is  reversed, for a symmetrical set of postures. Chandra Namaskar works to bring peace and calm to the body and mind. It is often practiced at the end of a Yoga session, or at the end of a busy day. It is said to be especially powerful, when performed in conjunction with the phases of the moon. There is a belief among some practitioners that performing Chandra Namaskar, under a full moon, will help draw from the energies of the moon, making the benefits of the sequence more powerful.

Breathing is also an important part of Chandra Namaskar. As you move throughout the postures, you are either inhaling or exhaling. This helps to stimulate blood flow throughout the body, which brings blood to the organs, the brain, and other body systems. Proper breathing helps lower stress levels, relaxes the body, and results in overall positive effects on the mind. As we move through our daily lives, we often forget about the importance and benefits of proper breathing, which is deep and slow. Chandra Namaskar helps bring that awareness of natural breath back, so we can begin to realize the benefits of an essential life element.

Chandra Namaskar promotes a sense of mental, emotional, and physical balance. There are many different variations in the series, but some of the forms of Chandra Namaskar include Half Moon or Triangle pose, which offset the body’s center of gravity, improving balance. It also promotes digestion, by opening up the chest cavity, expanding the lungs, and exposing the heart. Other poses, within the series, help tone the spine and improve the strength of the arm and shoulder muscles.

The purpose of Chandra Namaskar is to quiet the mind as well. It encourages Yoga practitioners to draw the focus inward and release the mind of stress and anxiety. It cools the entire body down, for a relaxing end of a Yoga session or the day. It can aid in sleep maladies, such as insomnia. Chandra Namaskar seeks to honor the feminine side of the body, restoring balance to the mind and body. The benefits of Chandra Namaskar are many. It is a simple series of poses that most beginners can practice without too much difficulty. If there is any difficulty, a competent Yoga teacher should know how to assist, modify, and help any student to use the appropriate props, if they are required. Finally, Chandra Namaskar’s positive effects will stay with students until their next Moon Salutation practice.

© Copyright 2012 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

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