Tap into the Power of Lunar Energy with Moon Salutation (Chandra Namaskar)

divine feminine and masculine energy

“The moon does not fight. It attacks no one. It does not worry. It does not try to crush others. It keeps to its course, but by its very nature, it gently influences. What other body could pull an entire ocean from shore to shore? The moon is faithful to its nature and its power is never diminished.” ~ Ming-Dao Deng, Everyday Tao: Living with Balance and Harmony

Surya Namaskar, the sacred salutations to the Sun, is practised to express gratitude to the sun for sustaining life on this planet; its also a practice of honouring our masculine (sun) energy. But to create a balance in our practice, as advocated in Hatha yoga too, and to nurture the energy of the divine feminine, Chandra Namaskar or moon salutation helps to replenish our vital energy.divine feminine and masculine energy

Literally translating to the ‘bowing down to the moon’, Chandra Namaskar is a quieting sequence that invites you to bow to and cultivate the moon’s soothing lunar energy. Just as Surya Namaskar stimulates and heats the body, Chandra Namaskar cools the body down, restoring energy & calming down the nervous system.

When we are feeling exhausted, overworked or low on energy, Chandra Namaskar can be practised to enjoy the opulence of feminine energy in the body.

Kristen Butera in his article, Chandra Namaskar: Celebrating the power of Moon says, “Each phase of the moon brings with it a special energy for that lunar cycle. Everyone knows the moon affects the tides of the oceans. We, as human beings are also made of water, and the same phases that affect the tides also have a deep impact on our bodies and minds. When we view our lives through this interactive lunar lens, we are empowered to explore ourselves in a very natural and powerful way.”

Benefits of Chandra Namaskar

Chandra Namaskar when coordinated with breathing opens up the flow in the system allowing an experience as soothing as the moonlight.

  • Moon salutation can be practised when a person is stressed, tired or fatigued. It immediately balances the energy and brings tranquillity in both mind and body.
  • Just as moon journeys through different phases, similarly, Chandra Namaskar benefits women in different phases of her reproductive life. From menstruation to pregnancy to menopause, the fertile creative energy created by Moon Salutation aids in removing blockages, calms the nervous system and reduces PMS as well.
  • Poses like Ardha Chandrasana or Crescent shaped moon pose, Hasta Uttanasana or Raised Arm pose , Bhujangasana or Cobra pose, opens up the heart center, allowing the practitioner to be more compassionate, empathetic and loving.
  • It opens the pelvic region, hip flexors, increases flexibility in the back, strengthens the core and improves lung capacity.
  • If you are practising Sun Salutation, it is advised to practice Moon Salutation as well, in order to bring about a complete harmony in the lunar and solar, feminine and masculine energy.

Steps for Chandra Namaskar

Like sun salutations there are many variations of the moon salutation sequence. Its important to move slowly at your own pace through each asana. Starting from the first image on the left and gradually move forward towards right side:
chandra-namaskar-moon-salutation
Vajrasana or Thunder Bolt Pose

Sit on your heels with calves just under the thighs and place your hands on the thighs. Take deep breaths and gather yourself for the practice of moon salutation.

Shashankasana or Hare Pose A

In the same position, take a deep breath in and raise your hands above your head, extending the torso up like a string pulling you up from the top of your head.

Shashankasana or Hare Pose B

Exhale and bend forward, keeping the spine erect, place the forehead on the floor. Keep your arms straight with palms resting on the floor.

Bhujangasana or Cobra Pose

As you breathe in, keep your hands in the same position and lift your torso while keeping the entire lower body resting on the floor. The shoulder blades are down and the gaze upwards.


Adho Mukha Svanasana or Downward Dog Pose

Exhale and shift the torso backwards into downward dog. Both the hands stay where they are and the feet is in one line, forming an inverted V. The head stays between the hands and the gaze is fixated on the navel.

Ardha Chandrasana or Crescent-Shaped Moon Pose

Bring your left leg forward, as you simply breathe in. Now, bring the palms into prayer position overhead. The left foot is deeply rooted into the floor and the torso extends further while the back is arched more. The head stays between the hands and gaze is upwards towards the ceiling.

Padahastasana or Hand to Foot Pose

Exhale and bring the left foot forward in line with the right and go down from your waist, place the hands on either side of the feet. Try and touch your forehead to the knee. If you are a beginner or are unable to touch your hands to the floor or head to knee, don’t force yourself and stay where you are.

Hasta Uttanasana or Raised Arm Pose

As you inhale, rise up and lift your hands up, maintaining the prayer position and creating a gentle arch in the back. The gaze is upwards and the pelvis is pushed out slightly. Ensure the back is not swayed to the front but firm and the head is between both the arms.

Padahastasana or Hand to Foot Pose

Exhale and go down from your waist, place the hands on the ground and try and touch your forehead to the knee. If you are unable to touch your hands to the floor or head to knee, don’t force yourself and stay where you are.

Ardha Chandrasana or Crescent Shaped Moon Posetumblr_n52uowVuLp1sjjmz8o1_500

Inhale and take right leg back and perform the Crescent Shaped Moon pose as mentioned earlier.

Adho Mukhasavasana or Downward Dog Pose

Exhale and come in Downward dog while you perform the pose as mentioned earlier.

Bhujangasana or Cobra Pose

As you breathe in, keep your hands in the same position and lift your torso while keeping the entire lower body resting on the floor. The shoulder blades are down and the gaze upwards.

Shashankasana or Hare Pose B

Exhale and fold slowly into Shashankasana. Sit on your heels once again, keeping the arms extended forward and palms as well as forehead resting on the floor.

Shashankasana or Hare Pose A

Inhale and slowly rise up with arms overhead; the spine is erect and gaze forward.

Vajrasana or Thunder Bolt Pose

Exhale and gently bring back your hands down and place the palms on your thighs.

General Instructions

  • Perform the entire sequence 3, 5, 7, 9 or 11 times based on your capability and energy levels.
  • After completing the process on the right side, initiate the entire process with the left leg.
  • Each pose is to be practised slowly and gradually by holding it for 2-3 breaths each.
  • It is best practised at sunset, when the moon is rising and when done with devotion & gratitude it becomes a full-bodied prayer unlocking new horizons.
  • Consult a health professional if you have recently had any back, hip, shoulders or knee injury.
  • Maintain the breathing instructions at all times in order to reap effective results.

Any practice comes to its fruition when done over a period of time, with a positive feeling and a sense of contentment. Adding meditation to the practice before or after or at both times can accentuate the results and create a flow in your movement, your attitude and life on the whole

Please note that there are many variations of the Moon Salutations and different school of thought practices different variations of Chandra namaskar. The version mentioned above is followed by Bihar School of Yoga and Kaivalyadhama Yoga Institute, India and taught by proclaimed yogis in Rishikesh, India.

Image source
Yoga balancing energy