A full moon is a beautiful time to spend in reflection; noting what serves you and what does not, setting new sankalpas (heartfelt intentions) and partaking in a slower more meditative lunar yoga practice.
Yoga allows us to remove barriers and blockages that we have built up both mentally, energetically and physically, as well as gain clarity of thought to begin to understand who we are and what we value. Yoga also allows us to find “The union of the individual soul with the universal Spirit…” B.K.S Iyengar (The Tree of Yoga). During a full moon we can harness the powerful lunar energies to take our practice to a deeper level and more easily achieve these goals.
When in tune with the ebbs and flow of the lunar cycle, our yoga practice changes naturally. Three days prior, during and after a full moon the universal energy shifts. We all experience the effect of the moon differently, however; it is common for people to feel an elevation of energy. As the energy lifts, it is important to stay grounded so that we may be aware of the subconscious or spiritual parts of ourselves that emerge. There is also a tendency to lose balance or injure oneself during this time if your practice is too fast paced.
Lunar qualities are reflection, intuition, introspection, femininity, receptivity and illumination. During a full moon we can draw from these qualities to find inspiration on how to breath, move and meditate. The lunar is said to represent the divine feminine so during our lunar practice, we should move into the right brain or the more intuitive and subconscious parts of ourselves. This side of the brain helps us to move into the “creative, delicate, intuitive, nurturing…surrendering, synthesizing, integrating, soft, feeling, and the part of us that “knows” without explanation”. (Micheal Haupt, Masculine & Feminine, Left- & Right-Brained Thinking Compared). To achieve this you may spend time in meditation, journaling and doing Sitali/Sitkari Pranayama.
In your asana it is important to stay close to the earth and allow your sequence to unfold intuitively. You may include postures that bring your gaze introspective, are more cooling and help to invoke the sensation of rejuvenation, release, fluidity and restoration such as chandra namaskars, forward folds, hip openers, gentle supported back bends and yin postures. This may vary depending on what has been happening in your life and practice prior to the full moon. For example, if you have already been practicing primarily yin postures or have been spending time sitting you may include more fluid yet gentle movements with a few standing postures that are not too heat inducing.
With the proper attention and awareness during a full moon, our yoga practice can allow the perfect opportunity to release what no longer serves, set and manifest new intentions, help one to integrate the mental and spiritual, balance the feminine and masculine and realize your highest truth and purpose. What a beautiful gift that we can receive once a month!
Nina Zettl is and Ambassador at the 2017 Victoria Yoga Conference. She founded Freedom From Within Yoga in 2012 and has since taught over 800 hours of classes and workshops throughout Saskatchewan yoga studios, gyms, community schools, music festivals and yoga retreats. Her style of teaching is a fluid, powerful and dynamic practice that focuses on alignment, conscious movement, breathwork, energy awareness and intention while encouraging her students to be playful, spontaneous and authentic in their practice.