Full Moon & Yoga

Written by Mira Saraf.

As the full moon approaches, the burning question on most minds out there was definitely not "should I do yoga this weekend?" And yet maybe it should have been.

full moon quotes

Traditionally Ashtanga yoga is not to be practiced on full moon or new moon days, not because of werewolves or witchcraft but something much simpler. Yoga brings us so much closer and in tune with nature, and therefore we are much more likely to be affected by it. It definitely can make one ponder if there is some biological fact behind the all those legends of howling wolves and human transformation.

The moon goes through its various phases relative to the sun and the earth. It rotates around the earth in what are called lunar cycles. We have all heard the terms waxing and waning moon. The cycle starts with the new moon, in which the sun and moon are on the same side. It makes its way around the earth (during the waxing phase) growing larger till it reaches the full moon stage.

The full moon occurs when it is directly opposite the sun, the earth at their centre. On the day of the full moon both the sun and moon are exercise gravitational forces towards the earth, and this is what causes the pulls of the tides, waves and oceans. As water makes up such a large portion of our being, we are very affected, much like these forces of nature we have grown to fear.

The moon cycle parallels that of breath. The last stage (the full moon) is equivalent to the fullest force of prana, or the end of inhalation, while the new moon corresponds to apana, the end of exhalation. Prana is marked by a headstrong attitude, while the stage of Apana is characterized by a calming downward pulling movement. Neither is supposed to be good for practice.

Some say chances of injury are greatest on this day. We've all heard the saying that everyone is a little off on a full moon. The reasoning behind this is that we tend to be very headstrong on the days of a full moon. Because of our stubbornness we may not listen to our bodies as we might otherwise do. This coupled with the fact that we are approximately 70% water, and thus affected by the same forces that cause the greatest catastrophes on earth, means that the chances of us hurting ourselves are higher. The best time to practice is ideally, in the middle of the lunar cycle.

Should you refrain from doing yoga this weekend? It depends. You should definitely pay close attention if you do decide to practice on these days of the cycle and ensure that you are being careful with your body and pushing only as far as you can go. If you feel that you cannot control the urge to push too hard then maybe a day off is in order twice a month, so you can keep a safe and healthy practice.

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