Happy November Full Frost Moon!
As ashtangis, we are often asked why, in the Mysore tradition of Ashtanga Yoga, do we take rest from our regular practice on the days of the New & Full Moon, aka Moon Days.
In a simple sense, sometimes we need to schedule a rest, otherwise we risk not taking it or over-taking it. Resting or modifying practice on the Moon Days is an optimal way to remind ourselves to put on the breaks, to pause, to reconsider: as we move along in our practice on and off the mat, how well are we aware of our connection with Nature? Are we in tune with Nature’s cycles?
Personally, I admit that if I’ve had a busy work week in which I’ve already had to rest, or if it’s been that time of the month where I’ve taken a lady’s holiday for my period, or if for whatever reason I did not get to complete my practice consecutively for the past 5-6 days, I sometimes go ahead and practice on the moon day. However, it’s considered safest to rest on the moon day. From a recent post by Live Sonima, “Guruji was fond of saying, ‘Two planets [grahas] one place, very dangerous.’ This means that when the sun and the moon are in a line relative to the position of the earth, the pulls affect both our mind and our body.”
Here is a helpful note about Moon Days from Tim Miller’s Ashtanga Yoga Center :
“Both full and new moon days are observed as yoga holidays in the Ashtanga Yoga tradition. What is the reasoning behind this?
Like all things of a watery nature (human beings are about 70% water), we are affected by the phases of the moon. The phases of the moon are determined by the moon’s relative position to the sun. Full moons occur when they are in opposition and new moons when they are in conjunction. Both sun and moon exert a gravitational pull on the earth. Their relative positions create different energetic experiences that can be compared to the breath cycle.
The full moon energy corresponds to the end of inhalation when the force of prana is greatest. This is an expansive, upward moving force that makes us feel energetic and emotional, but not well grounded. The Upanishads state that the main prana lives in the head. During the full moon we tend to be more headstrong.
The new moon energy corresponds to the end of exhalation when the force of apana is greatest. Apana is a contracting, downward moving force that makes us feel calm and grounded, but dense and disinclined towards physical exertion.
The Farmers Almanac recommends planting seeds at the new moon when the rooting force is strongest and transplanting at the full moon when the flowering force is strongest. Practicing Ashtanga Yoga over time makes us more attuned to natural cycles. Observing moon days is one way to recognize and honor the rhythms of nature so we can live in greater harmony with it.”
Remaining Moon Days for 2017:
New Moon – Saturday, November 18th
Full Moon – Sunday, December 3rd
New Moon – Monday, December 18th