Day 18: Moon Cycles & Yoga
It is only natural that humans are affected by the different phases of the moon. We are after all, made up of 70% water and if the tides ebb and flow differently then surely we must. How this effects us in our yoga practice is worth pondering over. Today, is the Full Moon with a lunar eclipse and an extra bonus is its also a blue moon. What does this mean? Firstly a blue moon is when there is 2 full moons in one month. This particular lunar eclipse happens only every 36 years making this to be time where the full moon energy is like its on steroids! You may of been feeling exceptionally emotional and sensitive leading up to today. That's because this is a time of recognition of what it is we truly want and want it is we truly need. This could be in relationships or in specific areas of your life. Either way its a time to embrace change and allow yourself to welcome the inspiration it brings. Communication is key at this time!
Both the sun and moon exude a gravitational pull on the earth. When the moon is Full it is in opposition of the sun and when it is a New Moon they are in conjunction. The belief is that when they are in different phases the energies can be compared to our breathing cycle. Full Moon corresponds to the end of the inhale where the Prana (vital life force) is the strongest. This upward moving energy makes us feel more expansive,stimulated and emotional (remember we are made up of water=).These sensations are great but can throw us off balance leaving us feeling unstable. The ancient yogic text, Upanishads, states that Prana resides in the head already so when the Full moon is shining bright we may even be more headstrong.
New Moons have the opposite effect from the extroverted energy of the Full. We may feel more inclined to turn inwards and can be a bit lethargic. The downward moving pull is called 'Apana' and during New moons the breath cycle it links to is found at the end of the exhale. This apanic energy does omit a feeling of calm and grounded but not so inclined for physical movement.
The inspiration that comes from taking lunar rest days is from time spent on the mat. The idea is we become more in tuned to the natural cycles as they occur and allows us time to pause and honor them by being at one with nature.
Even though some Yogis take Full & New Moons as holidays, I still find it a wonderful time to practice moon salutations. The difference from the warming Sun Salutations, Chandra Namaskars' connects you to to the earth and has a cooling effect on the body and mind. There are numerous Moon Salutations to practice from and they all have a fluid approach that links the body and breath seamlessly together. Standing postures are prominent as they tend to remind us of our foundation and can be pleasant for practitioners looking to give their wrist a break with very little arm balancing.
If you choose to practice around these times know that the energies are their strongest 3 1/2 days before the Full Moon and 3 1/2 days after the New Moon. Focusing on the opposing corresponding breath can be beneficial to you by creating balance to your system. On Full moons bring your attention to each exhale throughout your practice and make a conscious effort to ground into the areas that are in contact to the mat. It is suggested to avoid jumping and attempting difficult postures during this time too as our balance is also affected and may lead to injury.
On New moons try a more active practice that brings your attention to the inhalation. This will build the prana in your body and give you the spark to move through your practice. Whatever your belief, know that the time you spend on your mat gives you an opportunity to go beyond the physical and gain insight into the rhythms and cycle of the natural world.
For more information about this wonderful snow moon we're experiencing visit: