The Moon Sequence is a gentle vinyasa flow yoga sequence developed by my teacher Matthew Sweeney in Vinyasa Krama. The full sequence can take about 2 hours to practice but can also be broken down into shorter practices.
In this blog and guided video we’ll explore a shorter 30 minute version of the Moon Sequence focused on a series of hip openers with some useful variations for beginners.
Using a block for this practice will be helpful to give you more space while practicing some of the seated hip openers. But if you don’t have a block you can still do this practice either without a block or using something else like a cushion to raise your hips.
The Moon Sequence starts with a series of Moon Salutations (Chandra Namaskar) to help warm your body up and connect with your breath and body.
You start these Moon Salutations from a kneeling position and can choose to sit on a block to allow a bit more space in your hips and less pressure on your knees. To learn the Moon Salutations you can follow my guided practice of the Moon Sequence.
If these Moon Salutations don’t feel appropriate feel free to try a few core warm ups instead to begin your practice.
Bound Angle Pose | Baddha Konasana
For the Bound Angle Pose (Baddha Konasana) I would suggest sitting on a block if it’s hard to come into the posture with a straight spine. If your knees are sensitive you could also place blocks or cushions under your knees.
We’ll be practicing three versions of this posture targeting slightly different areas of the hips.
For the first version see if you can bring your feet as far away from your hips without separating the balls of your feet. And then you're just going to rest the hands a little on the shins and bring your gaze to look down.
See if you can soften around your shoulders and relax your face. Focusing on nice slow inhales and exhales. As you stay in the pose for a bit longer you might find you have more space to walk your hands forward. While if this feels too intense you can stay a little more upright.
For the second version of the pose we’re going to bring the feet a little bit more in towards the hips. You can adjust your position on the block as needed. Hands could start resting on your shins so that we're sitting a little bit more upright.
Chin could be tucked, eyes could be closed. And then pausing here for at least ten slow and steady breaths. Again, as we stay in the pose you can choose if you want to sit more upright or lean further forward with your upper body.
And then finally we're going to bring the heels as close as feels comfortable. This is where the block really gives you a bit more space to sit comfortably.
This time you could use the help of your hands to help drop the weight of your thighs down without straining. If that feels too intense you could make your hands a little lighter.
Again gaze can be looking down or eyes can be closed as we stay here for a few breaths. It’s up to you if you want to sit a bit more upright with your torso or if you can want to walk your arms a little forward and fold forward from your upper body.
Cow Face Pose | Gomukhasana
The Cow Face Pose can also feel nice to try sitting on a block if you’ve got one.
You can start by bringing your right foot in, bending your right leg and then placing your left knee on top of the right. If this doesn't feel so comfortable, another option is to your right leg extended out straight in front of you. This is particularly nice if you're without that block to give a bit more space in the hips.
Either way, you're taking a moment to adjust the hips and adjust your position. Hands can come on to your top knee and your gaze can be looking a little down here.
Now from here, if it's comfortable, you can start to fold a little further forward with your upper body and hands reaching out in front. While at the same time you're really allowing the weight in the back of your hips to drop down. Staying here at least ten breaths.
We’ll now start to add a twist by moving our torso over to the right. You could stay folded forward as you do this or you could twist to the right while sitting more upright. If you're more upright your left hand might hold your left knee and right fingertips might be back.
Staying here for around ten breaths.
You can then start to bring your torso back through the middle and then start to twist to the left. So again you might be more upright. This time your right hand is on the left knee and left hand behind. Or you might be a little further folded forward but still turning to the left.
Pausing here another ten breaths and then repeating on the opposite side.
Reclined Bound Angle Pose | Supta Baddha Konasana
Finally we’ll finish the practice with a little bit of relaxation. By lying on your back with your feet together and the knees apart you can still work on gently opening your hips.
Like with the Bound Angle Pose, you could choose to place two blocks under your knees. Hands can come to your belly. Closing your eyes and allowing your breath to be easy.
If you like you could focus on breathing into your belly while having your hands resting here. See if you can expand your breath down to the belly on your inhale and allow your belly to expand out towards your hands. And then on your exhale allowing your belly to draw a little back and away from your hands.
You can stay here for 1 - 10 minutes.
Tips for Beginners Developing Your Practice
Thanks for joining me through this short practice focused on hip openers and a little bit of that sort of flowing Vinyasa Moon Sequence.
It's worth mentioning that there are many muscles surrounding your hips that can make your hips feel tight and restrict your movement there. And it can take quite a long time to really notice the effects of practicing these hip openers before you feel more mobile and open.
I therefore suggest that you try this practice or other hip opener postures three or four times a week for a period of time in order to notice the effects of the practice.
If you enjoyed this shorter version of the Moon Sequence I would love to share with you a longer version of this practice. Join me in Amsterdam for my special Moon Sequence workshops or book an online private class to learn the sequence step-by-step with variations suitable for your individual needs.
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