I love all things moon. When she’s full, I’m in awe.
I’m drawn to the soothing, softening qualities of the moon and all she offers energetically. I love the way she affects us in ways we are only faintly aware of.
As a student and teacher of yoga, I understand the concept of harmony and balance in opposites (Yin/Yang). The feminine needs the masculine for a landscape of equilibrium, just as the moon would not be seen without the light of the sun. The primary principle of life is to flow, while accepting these opposites.
Ayurveda, yoga’s sister science, is the practice of observing nature’s rhythms and aligning ourselves with them. When we listen to these rhythms, they inform us when to be active and when to rest, and in this way we remain vital.
Our ancestors based many religions around the lunar calendar as they knew the potential of connecting with the moon. Likewise, any keen gardener will advise planting at the new moon (when the rooting force is strongest), and transplanting at the full moon (when the flowering force is strongest).
Our bodies are made mostly of water and just as the moon influences the tides, it influences what happens in our bodies. By aligning ourselves with the moon we can learn to work with, rather than against nature. The first step is noticing how you feel during each moon phase – the new moon, the full moon, the days leading up to and away from, each.
The moon relates to the yin or feminine aspects of ourselves; coolness, contraction, introversion, receptivity, intuition, feeling, emotions, creativity and sensitivity. For those who follow a yoga path the moon relates to the left nostril and left side of body, right brain, and also the ida nadi (sun and moon in equal parts is associated with the sushumna nadi).
Moon classes this month
Yoga by the moon
The aim of hatha yoga is to balance our lunar (moon) and solar (sun). In the western world yoga tends to reflect a bias for the solar, because we often emphasise sun salutations and heating practices in the quest for physical fitness. The lunar is connected to a more subtle type of practice.
Every cycle in nature requires periods of restoration as well as periods of activity. Observing the phases of the moon with our yoga practice is one way to recognise and honour the rhythms of nature as it helps us let go of habits or preferences, and explore other areas based on how we’re feeling. Practicing with the moon helps us connect to a natural rhythm and our inner guidance, taking us out of our heads (this is what I ‘should’ do) and into our hearts and bodies (how does this pose make me feel?).
In allowing the moon to guide our practice, our focus is also drawn to different aspects of our breath. During a full moon we work to bend backwards, creating more space for the lungs to expand and be full. Conversely, during a new moon we work to be quiet and still, following the very bottom of our exhalation inwards, towards our intuitive selves.
During the New moon phase, your mind turns inwards, your intuition is active and energy levels are low. It’s a time to step softly and be especially kind to your body. A new moon is also the most powerful time to set an intention (sankalpa). Think of it like planting a seed in the mind - over the coming weeks you water that seed and reaffirm your intention, until it comes to fruition. The energy for the new moon goes on for around 5 days (2 days +/- either side).
Yoga practice for New Moon – Think winter/restorative/introverted. New moon is a good time to rest, but if you do practice it’s helpful to keep postures passive and close to the ground. Forward bends are ideal. Quiet and still, follow the very bottom of your exhalation inwards, towards your intuitive self. New Moon is also an ideal time for meditation and healing.
Find out about the next New Moon & Yoga Nidra class
The two weeks after a new moon are a good time for action, expansion, and outwardly directed activities. Now is when your energy is at its best, energy levels are more solid and grounded.
Yoga practice for Waxing Moon – Think spring/growth/unfolding of new buds. Begin to increase your pace/strength, postures can become more energetic and uplifting. Open the heart and the hips and your body will love you for it. Standing postures and dynamic flows like surya namaskara (sun salutation) are ideal. It helps to hold a clear vision of your intention (sankalpa) and use your regular meditation practice to move consciously towards creating your vision.
Full moon is your time to shine, your power and creativity is high. You can feel energetic and emotional, but not well grounded. There’s a tendency to lose your connection to earth around this time. The full moon tends to stir things up so whatever is already going on in your body, mind and spirit will be amplified. If used correctly, however, it’s a time of positive opportunity. Full moon energy lasts for around 5 days (2 days +/- either side).
Yoga practice for Full Moon – Think summer/flowering/opening. Time to release that excess energy. A strong and sweaty yet grounded yoga practice is ideal. The full moon corresponds to the top of the inhalation so it’s a good time to backbend, opening the heart and creating more space at the front of the body for the lungs to expand and be full, release excess hormones, toxins, and energy.
Like the new moon, full moon can be a good time to rest or meditate if you’re feeling ungrounded. The full moon is also excellent for meditation and healing and an optimal time to release intentions (sankalpas) made during the new moon.
Between the full moon and new moon is when you clear a path, make space or clean up any clutter in your life, both physically and mentally. Make way for the new. It’s a good time for completing tasks, resting or focusing on inward focused activities.
Yoga practice for Waning Moon – Think autumn/harvesting/shedding our leaves. Decrease the pace/strength of your yoga practice. Let go of the breath and start turning your senses inward. The emphasis is on forward bends and gentle flows as you move towards the quiet winter of the dark moon before the new moon begins again.
I have participated in many of Rebecca's yoga classes and found her to be a wonderful, warm and considerate teacher.
Her instructions are always amazingly clear and concise, and she will offer alternatives when necessary.
The Yoga Nidra classes are so incredibly relaxing, I always 'float' home afterwards