Lying on your back is the perfect position for moon gazing. Imagine you are far, far away from any computers or city lights while practising this pose.
The moon is a powerful symbol for the opposing energies within us and is known for the power it has over the tides.
Although not always visible from where we are, the moon is constantly reflecting light. The moon appears brightest to us when it reflects light from the sun during a Full Moon. However, even during a New or Dark Moon (when the moon appears darkest from earth) the far side of the moon is still fully in the sun. We think it is dark, but the New Moon’s light is simply difficult for us to perceive – all we can see is the side that reflects starlight. Our vision therefore deceives us into believing the New Moon is dark.
The wisdom of yoga also teaches us that there is more to reality than what our senses can perceive. The moon is an excellent symbol to remind us of the limitations of our senses.
Until we are enlightened, the light within ourselves and those around us is also often hidden from our perceptions. However, when we recognize the divinity in ourselves and others, we shine compassion, warmth, and light into each and every action and interaction we have here on earth. This light is reflected back to us. The power of this reflected light is ongoing and infinite in nature.
Benefits of Tadaka Mudra
- Opens the vertebrae laterally, hydrating and moving the discs in a way that is not always incorporated into our daily lives.
- The lifting of the chest expands the intercostal area and allows for healthier breathing patterns.
- Improves overall circulation.
- People with neck pain or injury should avoid side-bending too strenuously.
- Frozen shoulder and rotator cuff injuries may prevent other people from lifting their arms overhead.
- Begin by lying on your back.
- Inhale and lengthen from the crown of your head down to the soles of your feet.
- Exhale and walk your torso over to the left, scooching over on your elbows, leaving your legs and feet right in the center of the mat. Avoid using the back of the head to move yourself over as this can injure your neck.
- Continue to flex the feet as if you are standing on an imaginary floor.
- Inhale as you bring one or both arms overhead. If both are raised, the arms can either be parallel (with the hands straight above the shoulders) or you can interlace your fingers with your index fingers up toward the ceiling.
- Make sure that your head is centered between your two arms.
- Come to a point where you feel the sweet sensation of a stretch, but are able to hold the asana steadily. Breathe deeply and balance the energetic forces of the sun and the calming influences of the moon within you.
- Breathe into the spaces between the vertebrae that have opened up along the left side of the body.
- Activate your legs. Encourage the muscles in your thighs to hug the femurs.
- Lengthen through the sides of your waist, keeping your shoulder-blades down and your arms active.
- If you need an additional stretch, cross the right ankle over the left.
- Walk the hands and arms back to centre. Avoid using your head or neck to walk yourself back. Perform the pose on the other side to balance the muscles on both sides of the body.