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Posts Tagged ‘lunar’

[time warp — sunrise yoga in Puerto Rico] On full moon days, just before dawn, it appeared that the moon was setting over the ocean just as the sun was rising — a stunning spectacle that amazed me every month. It reminded me of the balance between lunar and solar energies, and that sometimes it’s ok, even beneficial to honor the lunar pull and slow down. Even ashtangis take a rest from their asana practice on full and new moon days. 

I opted for a lunar practice this morning, in honor of the full moon. (thank you, Shiva, for the lunar flow on the Shiva/Shakti DVD.)  Slow, fluid movements, synched with the breath. Chandra namaskar (moon salutations), moving matrix-like, deliberately and with precision. Long-held forward bends and twists. And heavenly nadi shodanna (alternate nostril breath).

There are at least two very different versions of chandra namaskar that I’m aware of. One that I learned from someone from the kripalu school, which incorporates a wide-legged squat. That’s not the one I love. I learned this chandra namaskar first from Twee, during teacher training at the Secret Garden. It’s so slow and gentle (knee down in lunge, cobra intead of upward dog), but deceptively strenuous. My favorite part of it was the chanting that goes along with it. You’d think that lunar poses would be paired with gentle mantras, but it was the opposite:

Salutations to she who fulfills all desires

salutations to she who wears the garland of prosperity

salutations to she who is ever compassionate

salutations to she who is fierce

salutations to she who resides in fire

salutations to she whose diamond-like vajra essence is indestructible power

salutations to she whose messenger is shiva

salutations to she who is ever swift

salutations to she whose beauty and virtue is the essence of the kula

salutations to she who is eternal

salutations to she who is adorned with the blue flag of infinite mystery

salutations to she who is ever victorious

salutations to she who is ever auspicious

salutations to she whose essence is the fire which burns through all illusion

When I practiced ashtanga yoga (before my hamstring injury that put that to an end), I felt fierce while practicing, but also wrung out afterward. I love the feeling of the post-yoga glow and exhaustion. But i think that for me, a lunar practice is more nurturing and rejuvenating. Sometimes after a solar practice, I feel irritable and short-tempered. It’s as though there’s a post-practice release that happens, and it can be shocking and uncomfortable. I don’t get that with the lunar practice. I feel calm but fierce. 

During the pranayama and meditation, I let go of counting the breath in nadi shodanna and just let it flow, pausing for just a beat at the bottom of the exhalation, and at the top of the inhalation. Not enough of a pause to stop the flow. It went on and on, smoothly, fluidly, naturally, without thought. 

Shiva adds so much heart to her teaching. And magic. She used the image of the full moon shining into the back crown of the head, shining down the spine, illuminating and rejuvenating. 

The moon isn’t as bright as the sun, but its light is steady. I’m aiming for more of that steadiness.

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