Traditionally, the new moon (when the moon is not visible) and the full moon have important spiritual meaning in many cultures. Scientifically, the moon is known to exert a gravitational pull on the earth which in turn affects the tides and animal behaviour. Whether you’re spiritually oriented or of a scientific mind, the pull of the moon and its effects are undeniable, and connecting with our celestial satellite might just be the key to a more deeply connected and fulfilling yoga practice.
The Significance of the Moon in Yoga
Much of the focus in yoga is in balance — physically, emotionally, mentally — and in energy. Hatha yoga, the more exercise intensive form of yoga, means ‘sun’ (ha-) and ‘moon’ (-tha). The moon and the sun, both, have their place in yoga, signifying the balance in all things. Many of us bask in the sun's heat but forget to appreciate the cool glow of the moon and incorporating an appreciation of our planet’s satellite may just be the thing you need to put your practice in balance.
In Ashtanga yoga, new and full moon days are rest days. The new and full moons exert their gravitational pull in opposition or in conjunction with each other. In the Ashtanga belief, these events create strong forces that make us emotional or headstrong and as a result put us in an out of balance state that isn’t optimal for our yoga practice.
The Moon Cycles
Not all yoga traditions suggest taking rest days on “moon days.” In fact, some yogis suggest that channeling the energy of the moon in each phase of its cycle can facilitate a deeper, more intentioned practice. The four primary phases of the moon are good focal points to align your practice with the lunar cycle and find peace and balance in all things.
New Moon: Self-Reflection
The darkness of the cycle is a good time to reflect, if not rest.
Suggested pose: Balasana (Child’s Pose)
Waxing Moon: Creativity & Action
With the growing light of the moon, so does our creativity, energy and focus on making improvements grow and expand as well, whether that be in our yoga practice or in life.
Suggested pose: Half Moon
Full Moon: Intuition
The full strength of the moon at its brightest illuminates and reveals the rewards and missteps of the previous weeks.
Suggested pose: Ustrasana (Camel Pose)
Waning Moon: Harvest & Completion
In the waning moon, the cycle comes to completion -- a good time to accept the good that came with a dedicated practice and release the negative associations of the cycle.
Suggested pose: Bound Angle Pose