Chandra Namaskar: Moon Salutation

Since we spend so much of our sequence time doing variations on Surya Namaskar, I thought it might be nice to balance it out with Chandra Namaskar.  My nervous system has been rather sympathetic today, so I think I’ll do a few of these tonight before bed to calm myself.  Since my spine feels tight, I’ll use a variation with an emphasis on lateral spinal flexion.
1.  Inhale to raise your arms to Utthita Tadasana.  Lengthen through your spine and arms (feel your head reaching towards the ceiling, as if there is a string pulling at the crown of your head).
2.  As you exhale and your hands reach skyward, feel them pull you to the right, into Triyaka Tadasana.  Stay here for a few breaths, feeling the obliques and erector spinae on your left side lengthening.
3.  Inhale to return to Utthita Tadasana.
4.  Repeat steps 2 and 3 to the left.
5.  Exhale to step into Utkata Konasana (Goddess Pose).  In this asana, think about tucking your tailbone, keeping your knees at 90 degree angles, and holding your arms with intent.
6.  Exhale to straighten arms and legs to come to 5 Pointed Star Pose.  Savor the stretch between your scapula and through your pectoral muscles.  Make sure to keep your tailbone tucked and stomach tight.  This will protect your lower back from strain.
7.  Exhale to stretch your right arm to the wall, folding sideways from the hips to come into Utthita Trikonasana.  Make sure that your hips are stacked (right side below left) and your shoulders are aligned.  Tighten your abs and shoulders.  Inhale to straighten your torso.  Swing your arms up and back to retract your scapula and bring your hands to prayer position behind your back.
8.  Square your hips so that they face forward and exhale to fold into Parsvottanasana over your right leg.  Make sure to keep your back flat and hips squared (it helps to tighten your inner thighs).  Inhale to unfold your arms, placing your palms on the floor outside your right foot.
9.  Exhale to draw your left foot back, coming into a low lunge (Banarasana).
10.  Inhale to extend your left hand towards the sky, twisting your hips so that they stack left above right again.  Rotate your torso to open the chest, pulling up and back through your left hand.  Make sure your right hand is firmly planted on the ground and shoulders are aligned.  Keep your abs tight throughout this asana to prevent spinal tweaking.
11.  On an exhalation, raise your torso back to 5 Pointed Star.
12- 15.  Repeat steps 7-10 on the left side.
16.  Exhale to return to Utkata Konasana from 5 Pointed Star.
17.  Inhale to straighten legs and raise arms to Utthita Tadasana.
18-20.  Do the Triyaka Tadasana sequence (steps 2-4).
21.  Exhale to lower arms to Samasthitih.
I am not assigning breaths to each asana, as I feel like this is a sequence to be savored at your own pace.  This sequence promotes balance, increases circulation throughout the torso and to the head, opens and lengthens tight hips.  If done slowly with full breathing, this sequence has a parasympathetic effect on the nervous system, calming the mind and emotions.

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