Connecting Your Yoga Practice to the Cycles of the Moon

Mindfullness

In our yoga practice we’re taught to pay attention to our physical, emotional and energetic bodies – we connect to our breath, the sensations and the energy we’re feeling that day. But often we’re so conditioned to push past the inner voice that tells us to take it easy or slow down, or on the opposite end of the spectrum we listen to it all to often and are unsure when our body is simply saying “no” or when our ego is keeping us “safe” instead of allowing us to push through any blockages. The trouble is, with so much external stimulation from technology and society as a whole, we’ve lost our connection to nature and it’s cycles of reaping and sowing, waxing and waning, doing and being and so how are we supposed to know when it’s time to push through, and when it’s time to honour the need to soften and nurture? 

Well, we can listen to the wisdom and honour the guidance of the moon…

Below is some guidance to help you connect your practice with the cycles of the moon, but remember, the most important guidance of all comes from within. 

New Moon Yoga

The New Moon creates a blank page on which we can write our story. With the sky at its darkest, we are served a reminder of the emptiness of new beginnings; that we have an opportunity to sow seeds so that by the time the moon has reached its peak, we will see which ones we can reap. In our yoga practice this is a time to breathe a little deeper into the body, tune into a space of introspection via Yin Yoga and pay attention to those open spaces in your life. As you sit with the stillness and the emptiness, ask yourself “what do I want to draw in?”. 

It’s helpful at this time to look up which sign the new moon falls in and use the wisdom of astrology and moonology as a guide to the area of your life where you might want to focus. (You can easily google this each month or follow me @laurenbradyyoga as I usually post about the New and Full Moons as well as hosting online and in-person gatherings for those who want to dive a bit deeper). 

Think of your dream as a plant, this is the time you place the seed into the soil, nurture and wait for it to grow. 

Waxing crescent 

As the moon begins to wax (grow), we are given a boost of fresh energy and you may notice that your mood begins to lift too. It’s time to up the tempo of your physical practice through flowing vinyasa. Use your energy wisely and enjoy the strength that the practice ignites. On the mat, practice some drills that will take you one step closer to that posture you’ve been working towards and off the mat, focus on the details of your dream and begin taking steps to get there.

This is the time when your seed begins to sprout. 

First quarter 

Your energy is still on an upward trajectory and now is the time to make the most of that surge in strength and endurance. Take a Power Yoga or Rocket class and align to the process of paying attention to any challenges and seeing where you can push through. The past week has been all about building up to this moment and the drills you’ve been practicing should hopefully be giving you a little more strength.

Off the mat, this is the time to take action – apply for that job, reach out to that connection, put yourself out there into the world and send down roots into the soil. 

Waxing gibbous

As the moon is making its way to completion, we too are directed towards completing all of the tasks set out by us at the New Moon. A lot of people blame the Full Moon for keeping them awake and causing them to feel a little loco but it is in fact the waxing gibbous moon that is keeping us awake – giving us that extra time to work towards our dreams. Despite the moon’s good intentions however, the lack of sleep and increased energy at this time can leave us feeling frantic and so this is a time to practice grounding via Hatha and Yin Yoga. 

If you’re already on your way to completing your goals, then now is the time to edit and refine. Nurture what is already coming into fruition and practice patience with anything that isn’t quite there yet. The flower is preparing to bloom. 

Full Moon

The moment has arrived. The Moon is full and so are we. We’ve reached the peak of our energy cycle and it’s time to be present and enjoy this moment. Celebrate the actions you took to bring you to this point, express joy in the outcome and gratitude for everyone and everything that brought you here. In your physical practice, move intuitively as you flow with the rhythm of nature and know you are supported in every moment.

The flower has bloomed and shares it’s sweet nectar with those who visit.   

Waning gibbous 

A couple of days after the moon is at its fullest, it begins to wane. Here we are asked to release all that didn’t transpire within this cycle as we continue to be thankful and reap the rewards for what did. This is our opportunity to be of service, to nurture others and send our energy outwards. Practice heart openers through air Mandala and Yin Yoga; back bends including supported fish (a personal favourite and one which we all need more of) and subscapularis release with a yoga block – this pose will open up the lung meridians giving us more ease as we let go through long, releasing exhales.

The petals are beginning to fall from the flower but the flower knows there will be a time to bloom again. 

Last quarter 

The sky gets darker still as the moon decreases and our energy wanes along with it. This is a time for turning your awareness inwards to focus on where you might need to readjust your plans, what and who you might need to forgive and how you can transition with the next cycle. Practice relaxing yoga such as Hatha or Restorative Yoga, or simply sit on your mat and use this time for meditation.

The petals are beginning to decompose, offering themselves up to the soil to nurture that which gave. 

Waning crescent

It’s time for us to surrender. Our energy will be at its lowest now and it’s important for us to honour this. Rest, restore and recharge. Practice gentle grounding yin or tune into other spiritual work using crystals, breath work and palo santo to cleanse yourself of any residual energy from the last cycle. Let go once more of anything that didn’t transpire in the last cycle as you open up to emptiness. This space is where our intuition is strongest, what do you need to draw in at the next New Moon?

Allow that which you let go to serve as compost for the next harvest. 

Lauren is a Vinyasa, Mandala and Yin Yoga teacher offering online and in-person classes, events and retreats in Barcelona and beyond. She has a particular fondness for astrology and the moon cycles as well as being a lover of nature; all of which feeds into and gives depth to her teaching style. 

Follow Lauren on Instagram.

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