I am so excited to teach tonight...not that I am not excited for every (most) classes but tonight is special because it's a full moon! There are all kinds of urban legends about the full moon...people go crazy, strange things happen, emergency rooms fill up, more arrests are made, pregnant women go into labor. These are fun ideas to entertain but I'm excited because it gives us an opportunity to bring awareness to how nature effects our bodies and our moods and yoga is a perfect vehicle to bring everything back into balance.
The full moon and new moon are times during the lunar cycle when gravitational pulls have an energetic effect on the earth that can be compared to the breath cycle in our bodies. The energy of the full moon is likened to the top of the inhale where prana (life force) expands toward the top of the head. That is why during this time we may feel more energetic and vibrant yet ungrounded and feisty. The new moon energy is a downward movement of apana that is compared to the bottom of the exhalation. We feel calm and grounded but lethargic and unmotivated. In the Ashtanga tradition, the full moon and new moon days are held as holidays and practice is encouraged during the mid lunar cycle when we are more balanced. During the full moon when we may feel fired up and stubborn and may be less likely to listen to our bodies and honor our limits and may push too far and cause injury.
In Hatha yoga, "Ha" means Sun (masculine energy) and "Tha" means Moon (feminine energy). Most yogi's are familiar with Sun Salutations...dynamic invigorating sequences that fire up internal heat to build strength. Less familiar are the Moon Salutations. These are a series of postures that celebrate the feminine energy and are associated with intuition, the shadow and balance. These sequences promote inward reflection and a sense of calm. Anytime you feel out of whack...whether it is because of the lunar cycle or you are just having an off day, see if you can practice in a way that brings you back into balance. If you are feisty and irritable try incorporating some grounding and cooling postures into your practice. Likewise, if you are feeling lethargic and unmotivated go for a more dynamic heat producing sequence.
As a side note, bio dynamic farmers use the lunar cycle to manage crops. They plant seeds during the new moon phase and pull weeds during the full moon phase. Integrate this principle metaphorically into your practice. During the full moon ask yourself: What am I holding inside of me that is setting me back? What can I finally let go of that no longer serves me in a positive way? Pull your internal weeds and make space for new growth and opportunity. Namaste.