There are nights when the wolves are silent and only the moon howls.
— George Carlin

Moon Medicine

The moon is powerful. The moon is considered the protector and guardian of the Earth. Our nations have been intimately tied to the cylces and qualities of the moon since creation. 

November is often a month full of pressure, doubt, fear and the falling away of things that don't belong on our path. The moon is associated with the feminine energies, we call her "Grandmother". The full moon is a great reminder to us to look up, slow down, and fill ourselves up with her energy to prepare for a new cycle. 

Integrating this Practice

In the yogic tradition, Moon salutations (Chandra Namaskar) are used to cool and soothe the body. The circular motion of the sequence represents the waxing and waning phases of the moon. This is a beautiful evening practice - the poses create a meditative, calming connection to the breath, preparing the body and the mind for a restful night’s sleep.

Salute the Moon: Step-by-Step

Set up your environment to be peaceful and calming. Low lighting, candles and smudging before practicing may provide some stillness and ease. Wearing light, comfortable clothing is best.

The idea is to move rhythmically with your inhales and exhales and not fixate on perfecting each pose. Move slowly to start and gradually increase your flow if it feels good. 

In this sequence, we face the long edge of our mat. First we move from the left to the right and back. It may seem a bit disorienting or confusing at first, but with practice you will start to notice the symmetry and rhythm. Follow the 13 steps to represent 13 moons. 

1. Begin in Mountain Pose (Tadasana) on the left side of your mat facing the long edge. Bring both hands together in prayer position at the heart center.

Standing Meditation

i). Close your eyes and draw the focus inwards, listening to your breath and setting an intention for your practice. Take as much time as you need

 

Open your eyes, inhale and extend your arms outwards and upwards, interlacing your fingers, index fingers pointing skywards.

2. Standing Crescent Pose (Indudalasana): Exhale and bend to your left extending long through the right side, all the way from the outer right foot to the tips of the index fingers. Inhale to center and exhale and bend to your right. Inhale to center.

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3. Goddess Pose (Utkata Konasana): Exhale, step the feet apart, toes pointing out. Soften the knees and squat, keeping the knees in line with the ankles and the back straight. Arms bend at the elbows to a 90 degree angle.

4. Triangle Pose (Trikonasana): Inhale, turn both feet to the right, arms outstretched and parallel to the floor. Exhale, reach long over the right leg. Lower the right hand to ankle / shin or to a block and extend the left arm to the sky. Inhale and rotate the chest to the sky.

5. Pyramid Pose (Parsvottonasana): Exhale, take your left arm down to frame right foot with the right hand, rotate the back foot even further and turn both hips forward to fold over your right (straight) leg for a hamstring stretch.

6. Low Lunge (Anjanyasana) over right foot: Inhale, step the left foot back and bend the right knee so you come into a low lunge position. Make sure the knee stays in line with the ankle to feel an opening in the front of left hip/thigh.

7. Wide legged squat (Skandasana) over right leg: Exhale, bring both hands to the floor in to the big toe side of your right foot. Turn inwards on the ball of the right foot and rotate your body to the front of the mat. Left leg is extended, toes point to the ceiling. If your balance allows it bring your hands together in Anjuli Mudra (prayer position) or left hand overhead. Feel free to keep your hands resting on the floor.

8. Goddess Pose (Utkata Konasana): Inhale come back to squat in the centre of your mat. Goddess pose - knees in line with ankles, back straight, chest open.

--- REFLECTION - mirror the sequence in the other direction ---

9. Wide legged squat (Skandasana) over left leg: Exhale, bring both hands to your heart or to the floor. Engage your right foot and sit low to open groin and hips. Lower your hands and rotate towards the front of your mat for low lunge.

10. Low lunge over left leg (Anjanyasana): Inhale, raise your arms overhead. Right toes may be tucked or untucked, depending on preference. Keep you rleft knee in line with your toes. On your exhale, slowly lower hands to the mat and pull you right toes slightly in towards your left foot for pyramid pose.

11. Inhale Pyramid Pose: exhale, right foot steps in a little, left leg straightens, level the hips and folding over the left leg. Keep the crown of your head lengthening forwards. Exhale, prepare for triangle pose by turning your right toes outward, increasing the stance of your feet if necessary.

12. Inhale to Triangle pose by lifting up your right arm and fingertips and pulling your right hip towards the back of the mat. Feeling an opening of the left side waist and front of your hip. Exhale lower arms to parallel and turn both feet towards the long edge of your mat.

13. Standing Crescent Pose (Indudalasana): Complete by inhaling your arms overhead and side-stretching towards either direction. Return to Tadasana Mountain pose.

Repeat this sequence up to 4 rounds. This may be practiced on its own or with other yoga postures (asanas) or meditation, yoga nidra.

Photography and video by Vincent Dumoulin, Cedar and Gold

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