While the Sun Salutation sequence is fiery, intense and strength-building, the Moon Prayer Salutation is soothing and quieting, ideal for days where you just feel worn out and need a calming pick-me-up. Best done in the evening, the sequence pays homage to the moon while preparing you for a night of restful, rejuvenating sleep.
When to Do It
The soothing salutation sequence is ideal on days when you feel overheated, depleted or overstimulated. It is especially beneficial for people who are under stress and need to balance their energy before reaching the point of exhaustion. Practice the sequence in the evening as a way to pay homage to the moon and prepare yourself for sleep. Sunset is a particularly powerful time for practicing yoga because it represents a balance between darkness and light. This is akin to the balance between cold and hot energies in the body. Energy is lowest during the new moon, full moon and waning moon, making these times of the month great for boosting energy using the Moon Prayer Salutation.
The Opening Sequence
The Moon Prayer Salutation sequence begins with the Salutation Seal. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and join your pinkies together in front of the chest. Slowly, gently move into the Heart-Opening pose, inhaling and opening the arms wide before moving them to your lower back. Flow into the Lunar Standing Forward Bend, bending at the waist so your chest reaches the thighs and the hands rest palm-up on the floor. Flow between this move and the Heart-Opening pose three times.
The Middle Sequence
From the Lunar Standing Forward Bend, move into the High Lunge. Exhale as you lunge with your right knee and press the left foot back away from the body. Move into the Somachandrasana I pose, inhaling as your draw your right arm over the head and turn the feet clockwise, twisting the body in the lunge position. From there, reach toward your back to open the chest in the Somachandrasana II pose. Alternate between these two poses twice more. Transition to the Sahaja Ardha Malasana pose, turning the whole body clockwise until your stand with the feet parallel to each other and wide. Flow into the Spontaneous Flowing Half Squat, then return to the High Lunge before transitioning to the Plank pose. Next, transition to the Anahatasana pose on the floor before flowing into the Spontaneous Flowing Cobra pose. Rise up to the Bliss-Filled Downward Dog, then lift one leg to complete the Three-Legged Downward Dog.
The Final Sequence
Assume the High Lunge pose again, then flow back into the Lunar Standing Forward Bend followed by the Heart-Opening pose. Finish in the Salutation Seal stance before pausing to reflect inwardly and beginning the sequence again with the other side of the body.
Poppy Carpenter graduated from the University of Missouri School of Journalism. In addition to teaching journalism to junior high students, she also covers health and fitness for "PUSH Monthly" and Angie's List.