Believe in the power of lunar activity or not, practice yoga or not (any liniage, not just Ashtanga), taking two days a month to chill and reflect is no bad thing in my opinion. Which is why, when you follow the Ashtanga Yoga method in the traditional way, we are told not to practice asana (the physical practice) on the day of the Full Moon or the New Moon as these are the days that the energy from the moon effects us the most…WOOHOO!
Ashtanga yoga is HARD, as a teacher I’m not going to sugar coat it- it’s a challenge…and just when you think its getting easier some teacher will hand you a new, seemingly impossible, posture to crush your ego some more. So thank god for moon days I say!
I don’t know about you guys, but I personally feel a pretty strong difference in my body and emotions over the full moon…less so on a new moon, but there’s still a deffinate shift in my energy then too. If you’re thinking I’ve lost the plot right now, check out some new found science behind it here
..but anyway, believe it or not, having a moon day ritual is also a pretty cool way to sit back and connect to how you’re feeling and decide on where your intensions will lye over the next few weeks. It’s a bit like having New Years Eve twice a month, two opportunities a month to set your resolutions moving forward.
So here are four things that I do on a moon day and why: (I don’t do them all every singe time, but I might do one or two depending on how much time I have)
Switch off your alarm – …or just set it for a bit later if you can. Like I said, our energy changes over the few days before and after a moon day, our practice is an intense one (if you practice yoga or work out at all) plus life has a way of running away with us sometimes. So, if you can, take that one day to have a few extra hours rest and restore, it will undoubtable make the coming weeks run a little smoother.
Set an intention – Try this: grab a cushion, a note book/piece of paper and a pen. Write down something that either you wish to let go of, or wish to manifest into your life. On a full moon, I normally do things that no longer serve me, that I want to let go of or have too much of (this is normally a thought pattern or a habit). Then on a new moon, I’ll write down things that I want to manifest or a few intentions, stuff that I want to give my attention to in the next few weeks as the lunar cycle is refreshed.
Then sit on the cushion, fold the piece of paper and hold it between your palms. Close your eyes and tune into your breath, take ten deep breaths then start to repeat that thing that you’ve just written down in your head on each exhale.. continue to do so for ten minutes (or longer in you have time).
Then tear up the piece of paper and try not dwell upon that idea, just trust the universe and yourself and let it happen when you’re ready for it.
Take an Oil Bath – My teacher, Sharath Jois, is a big fan of this one! He sayd that taking an oil bath helps to draw stress, heat and toxins out of the body that we can’t remove ourselves.
By ‘oil bath’ I don’t mean fill your bath tub with oil (that would be pretty messy!) an oil bath is when you cover your body in a thin layer of oil, no need to massage it in you just need to cover the surface. Then leave it there for about half an hour before taking a hot bath (or shower if you don’t have time). So the oil has a chance to perpetrate into the skin, draw the toxins to the surface and then be washed away.
To do this you can use any oil, Sharath is a big fan of Castor oil. But you can also opt for olive, sesame or coconut.
Indulge- My favourite ritual! Although I actually sometimes do this one the day before a moon day, so that I don’t feel heavy for the fist practice back after the rest (if that makes any sense) … basically this ritual is something I’ve picked up form spending time in Mysore: the day before moon day = CAKE DAY..well, cake or pizza..or both.
I’m not going to lie and say that i’ll never eat cake on a regular day, thats not pre-moon day… but I try not to
…aand a cheeky fifth ritual: I was going to leave this one out because not everyone can do it, BUT I sometimes give myself Reiki on a moon day/rest day too. (half of your eyes have just lit up, and the other half think I’ve gone mad haha!) I’m only attuned level one at the moment, but it really helps me sleep and over full moon in particular I find getting to sleep a lot harder than normal.
Those are a few things that I like to do, but hey, this is about you! Think of these as a few ideas, find what works for you and make that your own personal ritual.
Love & light,