Moon cycles might not be something you regularly think about or associate with your yoga practice. But many natural cycles of the earth (moon phases, solstices, tides, seasons) are incorporated into yoga practice as a way to embrace all of the changes that are naturally occurring around us. I LOVE learning about these many qualities and incorporating them into my life. If simple changes in weather or temperature can effect our mood, energy and bodies, imagine how celestial bodies effect us!
Through yoga asana (hatha yoga), we are consistently exploring and seeking balance. Balance between light and dark, effort and ease, the left and right sides of the body...etc. In fact, the word 'hatha' can be translated to 'ha' (sun) and 'tha' (moon). So it's natural to seek balance within and without.
Just as with the 4 seasons, the phases of the moon carry various qualities and intentions. While the new moon and the season of spring are both times to "plant the seeds" of intention or create goals, a full moon and the fall harvest represent times to reflect. We might journal, 'reap what we've sewn,' or simply acknowledge changes. Whereas the new moon often feels expansive and open to new possibilities, the full moon is a lovely time to release, reevaluate and create closure.
Naturally, with the relation we have to our bodies, the seasons, our physical posture and the breath, this full moon energy can manifest through our asana practice in many ways. The full moon can leave us feeling a little 'spacey' or 'ungrounded,' so it's useful to think about grounding postures, earthy essential oils and cooling breath-work (pranayama). Try a few rounds of Moon Breath!
Moon Breath, Chandra Bhedana
- Come to a comfortable seated posture and close off your right nostril with your right thumb.
- Inhale through the left nostril
- Close off the left nostril with the pinky finger and exhale through the right nostril
- Continue in this way (inhale left, exhale right) for 1 to 3 minutes. Feel the cooling and calming energy!
As we practice being more conscious, mindful and connected within our yoga practice, our awareness naturally translates to an understanding of what's going on around us. Mark your calendar to set intention for the next new moon!