In my classes this week and in our 200-hour yoga teacher training this weekend, I led Moon Salutations. You’re familiar with Sun Salutations, which typically involve folding and lunging poses facing the front edge of the mat. The Moon Salutations I teach (and please know that there are dozens of other beautiful approaches to the concept) instead face the long edge of the mat. They involve much less time with the hands on the ground, virtually no weight-bearing in the arms, and lots of side bending and squatting. Thus, they offer a good complement to the movement of Sun Salutations, which focuses on the sagittal plane. In Moon Salutations, you’ll move in the frontal plane, and there are options for twisting—moving in the transverse plane. When you add movement in these directions, you’re encouraging better balance in your body: top to bottom, front to back, and side to side.
Learning a new sequence like this is also very good for your brain and your mind. You’ll see improvement over the course of a single practice, as your brain learns what nerves to fire and which muscles to engage. While the key poses—triangle, pyramid, and crescent lunge—are familiar, you’ll have to pay close attention to breath and body as you make the transitions, yielding better presence of mind.
The sequence is laid out for the visual learner in my Athlete’s Pocket Guide to Yoga. If you’d like to follow along in real time, I have two online classes that feature the practice.
Moon Salutes Deconstructed
In this online yoga class for athletes, we move through the moon salutations very slowly, deconstructing them and enjoying their constituent poses one by one. We move on to some slow core work and relaxing hip stretches. Along the way, you’ll learn that real men do yoga! (71 mins.)
Sequencing Intensive: Moon Salutations
In this online yoga class, filmed during Day 4 of Sage’s Sequencing Yoga Classes from Welcome to Namaste, we set up to face the long edge of the mat. In this new orientation, we explore Six Moves of the Spine, Leg Extended; Moon Salutations (see Sage’s Athlete’s Pocket Guide to Yoga for the template); Dynamic Core, and ITB Flow, all in her book, Everyday Yoga. Enjoy time to practice moon salutations on your own, tuning in to your body’s innate wisdom to move spontaneously. You’ll finish this practice feeling expansive, open, and balanced. Have a block available. (77 mins.)