The Sun, Moon & Power of Yogic Rituals
The word ‘balance’ has its roots in Late Latin, the combination of bi (“twice, having two”) and lance (“scale pans”). It conjures the image of weighing scales, often associated with ideals of justice, order and harmony.
Interestingly, to understand balance one must appreciate duality: an instance of opposition or contrast between two concepts. Sun and moon, mind and body, light and dark are some fundamental examples, integral to the art of holistic living.
The Sun & Moon in Hatha Yoga
In many cultures, light has long been a symbol of consciousness and self-illumination. “The world begins with the coming of light,” wrote Jungian analyst Erich Neumann in The Origins and History of Consciousness. “Opposition between light and darkness has informed the spiritual world of all peoples and molded it into shape.” Like yin to yang, like fire to water, like day to night, Chandra namaskar a.k.a moon salutations completes Surya namaskar.
Cognizant of the power of energy in circadian rhythms, our most recent collections, Vitamin D (L) and Moontide (R), pay tribute.
This balance is acknowledged by Hatha yoga and translates to Ha (sun) Tha (moon) yoga (to yoke, union). The intention of this ancient practice is to join/balance the solar and lunar energies in our body and mind.
The Sun is a giant ball of fiery gas that lights up the sky and provides us with heat. The Moon is a slightly smaller, but still pretty giant, piece of rock that manipulates Earth’s water using gravitational fields. Both these giant objects have predictable cycles that we can follow to measure time, plan the harvest of crops and understand the fertility and gestation periods of people and animals.
Surya energy is masculine, warm, light, active and logical. It flows through a channel called Pingala nadi on the right side of the body with emphasis on the right nostril.Cognizant of the power of energy in circadian rhythms, our most recent collections, Vitamin D (L) and Moontide (R), pay tribute.
Chandra energy is feminine, cool, dark, passive and intuitive. It flows through a channel called Ida nadi on the left side of the body with emphasis on the left nostril.
Sun salutation is similar to yang energy. It’s active, vigorous, assertive, and energizing, whereas moon salutation is relaxing, receptive, and meditative, like that of yin. In Surya Namaskar you must move from one pose to another quickly; in the Chandra Namaskar, the poses are done slowly, like your mind and body are meditating with every pose and transition.
The Power of Daily Rituals
If you’re looking to begin a daily practice, these rituals are a fantastic place to start. If you’ve been doing yoga for ages but overlooked its significance, we’ve got you covered too:
SUN / SURYA / MORNING SALUTATION
One of the means of honouring the sun is through the dynamic asana sequence Surya Namaskar (better known as Sun Salutation). The Sanskrit word namaskar stems from namas, which means “to bow to” or “to adore.” (The familiar phrase we use to close our yoga classes, namaste—te means “you”—also comes from this root.) Each Sun Salutation begins and ends with the joined-hands mudra (gesture) touched to the heart. This placement is no accident; only the heart can know the truth.
MOON / CHANDRA / EVENING SALUTATION
The Moon Salutation, known in Sanskrit as Chandra Namaskara, is a series of poses performed in a particular sequence to create a cooling flow of movement. Like the popular Sun Salutations (Surya Namaskara), each pose in a Moon Salutation is coordinated with your breathing: Inhale to extend, and exhale to bend. But unlike Sun Salutations, which are heating and stimulating, Moon Salutations are cooling and quieting. They are used to calm the mind and draw your awareness inward. Moon Salutations are useful when energy or temperatures are high and a tranquil, quiet presence is required.
- 12 sets of sun salutations in the morning
- 7 sets of moon salutations at night