Moon Salutations are the calmer, less strenuous, more peaceful cousin of Sun Salutations. They aren't talked about in the ancient texts and are a modern creation by people creating alternatives that work for different bodies and different purposes. Because of this, there are many interpretations, some bearing little resemblance to the Sun version and others more. You can see a lovely and compact representation of many alternatives here.
In the schematic to the left you can see the version I practice, which incorporates rounder, softer, slower movements and a chi kung exercise for the water element. This practice can be the perfect warm up for a Restorative pose or session of poses or a stand alone practice. I find it focusing and a great way to connect with physical sensation right before meditation. And followed by some Brahmari (Bumble Bee) Breath in Savasana in bed, it can be a great before bedtime practice.
Mountain is the same as the one to which you are used, but with softer knees. You can meditate here at beginning or end or simply practice breath awareness. Try allowing the arms to float up with soft elbows and the hands to hover out in front of your heart with the fingertips 3-4 inches apart, as if you are holding a beach ball. Shoulders soft, gaze unfocused - like you're trying to see shooting stars. Stay here two or more minutes at beginning and end.
As you're ready to begin movement, the arms come up and overhead but round, like the moon. The gaze is at the palms.
When the fingertips touch overhead, the backs of the fingers, hands and wrists come together and descend to trace the front line of the body. The hands actually touch the body from the middle of the brow, down the face, throat, chest, belly and then the inside of each leg. Your gaze follows the hands as you slowly curl in and down to a soft kneed forward fold.
Exhaling, step left foot back and drop your knee.
Next exhale, right knee back.
Next exhale, lower down to chest chin and knees.
Inhale into low Sphinx or Cobra. You can make this a Yin Seal pose and stay awhile if you'd like.
Exhale Child's Pose.
Inhale look forward,
Exhale left foot forward.
Exhale right steps forward, Forward Fold with soft knees, shoulders, head.
Place your left hand inside right, palms up, as if you were cupping a drink of water from a well.
Begin to curl up slowly, dropping the tail bone and stacking the spine from the inside, watching as the hands are drawn up just in front of the midline of the body, as if you're drawing up water from that well.
As the hands come to the level of the heart and the shoulders drop and head stacks, still gazing down at the hands, turn the fingers to point up at the sky and bring the thumbs and pinkie fingers together, creating Lotus Mudra in front of the heart.
Remain for a few breaths.
Begin the next cycle by holding the ball again and use the right foot to lead this time.
Do even numbers of sets so you lead with each foot equal numbers of times.
Leave a comment if you try this series and share your experience!