I teach restorative yoga. Generally speaking, this is not a popular style of yoga. It’s not active, there is no sweating or exertion of the body involved, nor do you achieve deep stressing of the muscles. Restorative yoga is ideal for those injured or ill but it is also a great complement to a regular yoga and fitness routine. Read more about restorative yoga on my site here.
Sun salutations (Surya Namaskar) are common in vinyasa flow classes. They are traditionally done in the morning to greet the rising sun and to stimulate the body. Sun salutations are energizing, they are the Yang energy of yoga, the male energy associated with heat and light. Conversely, moon salutations (Chandra Namaskar) are cooling, the Yin energy of yoga, aligned with the female energy, the earth, dark and cold. Moon salutations are not as widely known or used in modern yoga. Because they are cooling they are suited well to a restorative yoga class, especially at the end of the day, where the yin energy is welcome. Several moon salutation sequences are a wonderful addition to the beginning of a restorative class – they link breath with body, release tension, and prepare the mind to begin to focus.
Thanks to Susie Anderson yoga for this lovely graphic of a moon salutation, below. I recommend finding a local teacher who can properly guide you in a few rounds of this cooling practice. Although less energizing than a sun salutation, the body is still moving through fairly deep stretches, so proper form needs to be followed.
The idea of a moon salutation is to move thoughtfully through the phases of the moon – starting and ending at the same place. I like to think of the addition of a moon salutation as a principle of effort and ease – by which opposites are needed to balance the body. The effort of the moon salutation stretch prepares the body for the ease of the restorative poses to follow.
If you are unable to find a local teacher, learn with me online/Skype. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.