Chandra Krama – The Moon Sequence by Matthew Sweeney

Moon Sequence WorkshopThought it would be nice to share with you my personal experiences with the Moon Sequence – what it is, when and why I do it and hopefully it will inspire you fellow yogis to dive into slower and more therapeutic yoga.

My first visit to Leeds is now already two years ago – and in many ways it was a very happy trip!

Matthew Sweeney was in town and I joined him for a whole weekend’s workshop. He is no doubt a fantastic knowledgeable teacher and nice person. This was my first go at the Moon sequence. Matthew talked us through the sequence in a very calm, relaxed and soothing way. I was sold!

The sequence: You start sitting quietly for as long as you like tuning into how you are feeling in this present moment in body/heart/mind and becoming aware of the breath. The warm up consists of a Moon Salute A and B followed by some standing postures. You hold all the postures for a little while and keep focusing on a slow and smooth breath. Then follows a set of seated postures which help you to release tension around the shoulders and hips. The whole sequence finishes with back bending postures and a long deep relaxation.

Why: What I liked the very most is the way the sequence is designed. It emphasises good alignment and you spend a lot of time doing postures (back extensions) which are really important for a healthy lower back. Because you hold many of the passive stretches for a longer time it helps you to release tension in ligaments and soft tissue. It has also taught me a greater inner awareness because while I’m in postures (e.g. doing a hip-stretch) there is nowhere to escape compared to a dynamic yoga class where I’m always on my way to a new pose. Being more still teaches you to deal with less pleasant things and by tapping into the sensations learn to discharge them.

When: From time to time I struggle with a painful and stiff lower back. One of the things that really seem to help me is practicing the Moon sequence daily for some weeks. When you are injured is when the yoga really begins. Suddenly you can’t do everything and you need to teach yourself to “just be”; ”to modify and be happy with that” and “listen inwards”.

Not only do I use the sequence when I have an injury that needs to heal. I also use it on days where I’m feeling more tired than usual or super high and airy and need to slow down and ground myself. Have you noticed how the phases of the Moon affects you?

Thanks: I have come to understand how one yoga style can’t cater for all my needs as they constantly change. Practicing the same style over and over again makes me realise that every yoga style has got strengths and weaknesses. Teaching myself to listen and really listen to my needs have made my yoga practice much more balanced and relaxed. You always have a choice in yoga as well as in life!

Matthew Sweeney: Designed the Moon Sequence as a supplement to the Ashtanga Primary series. In his book Vinyasa Krama you will find another four unique sequences to complement the Ashtanga Intermediate and Advanced series. If you are interested to learn more about him please have a look at his website – he is based in Bali – do you get a better excuse to go traveling.

Kirsten x