Compared to the well-known Sun Salutation, Moon Namaskar (Moon Salutation) has a grounding and calming quality. This version from Francesca Giusti includes poses that stimulate the lower back and gently work on the hips, hamstrings and back of the body. Take several breaths in each pose and appreciate the deeply calming nature of this sequence that’s perfect to practice after a busy day.
1. Standing Crescent pose
Interlace the fingers, and reach your arms upwards, palms facing the ceiling.
Take a gentle side bend to the right and then the left, keeping the lower belly slightly drawn in and broadness in the chest.
2. Goddess pose
Step out with right foot and turn the toes of both feet diagonally out, knees following the direction of the toes. Bend the knees and sink the hips so you come into a wide-legged squat. Bend the arms at your elbows, lift them shoulder-height and spread the fingers, palms facing forward.
3. Triangle pose
Turn the right toes out and the left toes in. Straighten both legs and both arms and reach the right hand as far as you can to the right, keeping the arms and torso parallel to the floor, roughly in line with the top of the right thigh. Take the right hand down to the ankle or a block and stack the left arm above it. Press into the floor with your feet and radiate out from the fingertips and crown of the head.
4. Pyramid pose
Step the left foot slightly to the left and shorten your stance. Rotate the left hip slightly down and lengthen the front of the body so it becomes parallel to the floor. Then drape your torso over the front leg as much as your hamstrings comfortably allow. Place your hands on blocks if the stretch is too deep.
5. Low lunge
Pivot onto the ball of your back (left) foot and bend both knees. Stack your right knee above the right ankle and lower the left knee gently to the floor. Retain a slight engagement in the lower belly and imagine your tail bone lengthens down (this will protect your lower back). Raise your arms up by your ears and lift your chest upwards.
From a low lunge, place your hands on either sides of the feet, pick up the back knee and pivot to the left so you’re facing the long side of the mat. Then bend your left knee deeply and straighten the right leg, toes pointing to the sky. You can either keep your fingertips touching the floor for balance or bring your palms to touch.
Then … rewind!
Rewind this whole sequence with the left foot forward, moving from Skandasana > Low lunge > Pyramid pose > Triangle > Goddess > Standing Crescent pose. You can then repeat the whole sequence beginning from Standing Crescent pose on the left side.
Try it out in class!
EkhartYoga members can practice this sequence in Francesca’s lovely, gentle, grounding class, Moon Salutation with balancing pranayama – all levels, 30 mins.