With the time change come longer nights and a stronger moon energy. This time of year is a time for accepting the impermanence of things and making room for change.
Balance of yin and yang
Hatha yoga translates to ha meaning sun and tha meaning moon, similar to the balance of yin and yang.
While the spring and summer, relating to yang, are about actively building heat, fall and winter relate to yin, the cooler, calmer side of us.
The ancient yogis discovered that prana or life force energy, could be subdivided into energetic components also called vayus (winds).
Similar to the concept of gravity, the condensing, downward force that is associated with the moon is called apana. When we pause at the end of an exhale we feel calm and grounded through this apana energy.
From earth, it’s difficult to perceive the moon as one solid spherical mass, but instead, we think of the moon as an ever-changing shape: full circle, crescent, and half moon.
The shape that represents our second chakra is a circle with a crescent inside, this embodies the moon’s changing cycles.
Our mind can be influenced when the moon waxes or wanes. These changes can be seen in the ocean as the moon’s forces change the tides. Since our body is made up of water, we can assume the moon’s forces are also pulling on us.
Second chakra or svadhisthana, is characterized by movement and flow in our emotions and thoughts, as it is also associated with the water element. The energy of the second chakra allows us to let go and move forward.
We can find a balance in these thoughts and emotions by listening to our body. This is our opportunity to deepen our mind-body connection by spending time meditating and setting new goals.
When svadhisthana is balanced, the relationship with the world and the people around us becomes harmonious. When svadhisthana is unbalanced we become distant and overindulgent.
Welcome the moon energy by slowly flowing with your breath through these Moon Salutation. Try incorporating orange lights into your practice to awaken the second chakra. You can also practice Moon Salutation near a body of water to embody the moon’s forces.
Sanskrit: Chandra Namaskar
Step by step:
- 1. Start in Mountain pose with your big toes together. Inhale as you lift your arms overhead and clasp your hands in steeple mudra.
- 2. Exhale over to the right for a side body stretch to find your Standing Crescent pose. Pause at the end of this exhale, allowing room for cooling apana to feel grounded. Inhale back to center and exhale over to the left as we make room for flexibility in our daily schedules.
- 3. Inhale back to center and exhale as you lift your right leg back behind you and turn your torso to the right. Spread your arms open as you reach for the sky in Half Moon pose.
- 4. Take three breaths then gently step back and square your hips. Inhale and reach your arms up as you bend into a 90 degree angle with your left leg. Straighten your right leg, sending your tailbone down.
- 5. Exhale as you bend and tap your right knee on the floor. Twist your torso to the left, squeezing out the toxins and replenishing the juices in the spine with positive energy.
- 6. Repeat this flow three times, then straighten both legs and turn your body to the right. Bringing your feet parallel on the outer edge. Inhale over toward your right foot and lift your left foot, balancing on the four corners of your right foot and hovering with wide arms. Exhale over to the left and lift your right leg.
- 7. After three breaths, stand on both feet with your heels inward and your toes outward. Level the crown of your head over your tailbone and open your arms like a cactus in right angles. Squeeze your energy to your midline as you begin to sink down into Goddess pose. Take three to five breaths. This hip-opening pose activates our second chakra as we make room for the flow of creativity and reflection.
- 8. Turn toward your right foot as you flow back through the moon lunge and twist, Half Moon pose and Standing Crescent Moon pose. This completes one Moon Salutation. Repeat three to five times.