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If you know me, then you know I'm in love with yoga. I usually practice heated power vinyasa once or twice a day. Though I love this style (I sweat, and feel like I'm getting a great workout), it's not always healthy for my "Pitta" dosha. As a pitta, I already have a "fiery" and hot nature, so practicing heated power yoga so often can get to me. Because of this abundance of heat, I started to practice cooling, moon salutations.

Most often, people practice Surya Namaskar, or Sun Salutation. Sun salutations are literally a "salute to the sun." The sanskrit, Surya, is the Hindu solar deity. This sequence is ideally performed at sunrise to get the body and mind energized, and is flow-worship for masculine energy, light, and warmth. Chandra Namaskar, or Moon Salutation  is of course the opposite; celebrating female energy, darkness, and coolness. Moon salutations are ideally practiced in the evening, and preferably in front of the moon.

Because of my Pitta type, it can be very difficult for me to rest or unwind. I also have a crazy competitive drive that can get out of hand real fast if I'm not attentive to it. When I started practicing yoga six years ago, I would have difficulty taking a child's pose in the middle of class if I needed/wanted it. I still have difficulty with this, but it's much less. In my competitive, anxious mind, I struggle with beating myself up when I'm not doing what I believe to be "difficult" or "strenuous." For Pitta types, it's important to almost force ourselves into a child's pose or another "resting" posture, because we really do need it. Most of us don't take it, because we are too busy in our head comparing ourselves with the girl next to us who is doing handstand-to-chaturanga. For me, it has become apparent that I really should just close my eyes for the entirety of a yoga class.

I really enjoy the "slowing-down" of moon salutations. So far, I have only ever practiced them alone in my apartment, but I would love to get a group of women together to practice this beautiful sequence. It feels so gentle and lovely. One of my new yoga goals is to practice at least one sun salutation during the day, and one moon salutation at night. This way, my body, mind, and soul will be better balanced.

Here are some images that show the asanas of a moon salutation:

MoonSalutation
moonsalutation_p
the complete moon salutation

Added bonus: my Moon Salutation playlist! A good, 1 hour for your "salute" to the moon :)

1. "Orange Moon" - Erykah Badu 2. "The Moon is There, I am Here" - The Blow 3. "Moon" - Bjork 4. "Moon and Moon" - Bat For Lashes 5. "The Moon Asked The Crow" - CocoRosie 6. "My Moon, My Man" - Feist 7. "Moonchild" - Cibo Matto 8. "Moon" - Sia 9. "I Wish I Was the Moon" - Neko Case 10. "Harvest Moon" - Neil Young 11. "The Moon" - Cat Power 12. "Shoot the Moon" - Norah Jones 13. "Sail to the Moon" - Radiohead 14. "The Killing Moon" - Nouvelle Vague 15. "Pink Moon" - Nick Drake

Do you practice moon salutations? Have you heard of them before? Tell me about your experience in the comments!

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