Luna Yoga: how the moon may influence your yoga practise
In this modern age we have cleverly devised a whole realm of entertainment and distractions that prevent us taking even a moment to look inside ourselves, or outside into nature. Where once we trusted in ourselves, we now trust in Google. We are glued to our technology; walking around with our eyes fixed on either our phones or our feet. We are driven to succeed at work, distracted by passing trends and all the time losing touch with even the simplest of things – the pleasure of a simple meal, a smile from a stranger, the sun on our skin. So while we rush onwards without noticing the changing of the seasons or the cycle of the moon, what are we rushing towards? If we cannot enjoy the present, why do we rush headlong into the future?
The physical practise of yoga was designed thousands of years ago as a means to allow ancient yogis to sit comfortably during their long meditations. In fact, the physical practise – asana – was just a small component of yoga! While the modern practise has moved in various directions, most of today’s incarnations still provide a means to delve into one’s self and increase awareness and intuition, an essential ingredient in the true practise of yoga (unity). Some forms of yoga are best suited to different moods, moon phases and seasons and the variation of your practise throughout the year can help you tune into ‘you’ and bring a little more unity and mindfulness to your life.
When was the last time you stepped outside to admire the night’s sky or a beautiful sunrise? When did you sit down alone and eat breakfast, noticing the different textures and flavours? When did you last notice the signs of illness in time to rest?
Connecting to this natural cycle is a wonderful way to feel more balanced and grounded. One simple way is to look at the lunar cycle and take note of the changes in your body through the different phases. Your body may feel energised, your mind over-active or unusually creative and dreams more vivid during a full moon. A new moon may bring darker thoughts and can be a time when self-doubts rise to the surface. Perhaps you notice nothing at all; the main aim is simply to take the time to notice!
Here are some tips for developing a deeper understanding of yourself and how the moon affects you…
Add each month’s Full Moon and New Moon to your calendar. Add a reminder to take 5 minutes to sit outside and reflect on something you’re grateful for.
On the days either side of a full and new moon, write down how you feel in general – hungry, anxious, energised, lonely – anything that springs to mind! This is a great way to look inward and see if there’s a pattern.
Balance your yin and yang* energies. If you’re feeling too yin (maybe during new moon phase), try a Vinyasa or Power yoga practise to generate heat and up-liftment. If you’re feeling too yang (maybe during full moon) try a yin yoga or restorative yoga to ground you.
Take special note of the first full moon of a new season. This is the perfect time to celebrate the change of weather and reflect – the dates this year are: Autumn Full Moon: March 23 2016, Winter full moon: June 20 2016, Spring full moon: September 17 2016, Summer Full Moon: December 14 2016.
I know you’re already on your phone all day, so why not download an app such as ‘Moon’ to provide notifications and reminders of special lunar events?!
Yoga tries its best to teach us the art of being present, the practise of mindfulness and awareness. But so often it’s all too easy to walk out of the studio and slip back into our usual routine without taking anything from our practise. Taking a few minutes each month to connect with self and nature is a pretty simple way to become more present. Why not give it a go this month?
*YIN (moon) – stable, immobile, feminine, passive, cold or down
*YANG (sun) – mobile, masculine, active, hot or scattered