Lunar Cycles: How To Sync Your Yoga Practice With The Moon
Do you sometimes feel like your energy levels just don’t match up with your yoga practice? It sounds wild, but that might not be due to fatigue from a busy day at work – it could be because of the moon.
Yes, the moon. But why is the full moon associated with yoga? Yoga actually has an ancient and deep connection with lunar cycles, especially in the Ashtanga tradition. Ashtanga yogis believe that matching your yoga to the cycles of the moon helps you become more aligned with natural rhythms. Sounds pretty good to us!
Also, many people believe that the moon can impact our energy levels just as it causes ocean tides to rise and fall. Yogis all over the world believe that lunar cycle yoga is the best way to balance your energy, moods, and emotions… all with the help of the moon.
If you’re feeling off-balance, why not commit to a month of lunar yoga and see if it makes a difference? Here’s everything you need to know to get started.
What does the moon symbolize in yoga?
The moon and the sun both play an important role in yoga. Both are powerful and balance each other out; solar energy is generally thought to be masculine, while lunar energy represents the feminine. Yogis believe both energies exist in everyone and are gender-neutral.
To many spiritual yogis, the moon can represent wisdom, the circle of life, and intuition.
How to sync your yoga practice with the moon
Ashtanga yoga considers both the new and full moon times to be “moon days”, and they abstain from yoga on these days. So why do we not do yoga on moon days? This is due to the gravitational pull of the moon, which is strongest at these times and can throw off the body’s energy and cause a higher risk of injury. However, if you’re feeling the call of yoga, you can still practice – just stick to gentle, calm movements, like yin.
Essentially, lunar yoga works by increasing your energy as the moon waxes, until the moon is full, and energy levels are highest, then tapering down as the moon wanes. If you’re eager to get started, try to time your first lunar yoga session from the waxing crescent.
1. Waxing crescent
The word “wax”, in the lunar context, means “to grow”. So as the waxing crescent begins, this is the start of a new lunar cycle, bringing fresh energy.
You might find that the waxing crescent can boost your mood and leave you feeling spirited and energetic, so this is a great time of the month to enjoy some vigorous vinyasa yoga, helping you work up a sweat.
2. First quarter
Next comes the first quarter cycle, which yogis believe is a continuation of the waxing crescent energy. You’ll feel empowered and lively, with endurance to tackle challenging poses and push yourself to try new things. Focus on strength and power yoga moves during this time.
3. Waxing gibbous
Once we reach the waxing gibbous phase of the moon, our energy will peak. It’s often a time where you might also feel frustrated or frantic due to so much energy. Some believe that the waxing gibbous cycle impacts your sleep, making it harder to stay asleep.
During this phase, many enjoy aerobic, energetic yoga styles, as it’s great for burning off excess energy. However, if you find it hard to concentrate or focus during this time, you might want to center yourself with a more calming, restorative practice.
4. Full moon
The full moon is considered the highest point of the energy cycle. So, should you practice yoga on a full moon? Ashtanga devotees choose to abstain during this time, but others tend to focus on calming, cleansing, and relaxing yoga types, helping you feel grounded and connected to the earth.
5. Waning gibbous
As the full moon begins to fade away, it moves into the waning gibbous cycle. Traditionally, this cycle is used as a time for gratitude, giving thanks to the energy received from the moon in previous cycles.
It’s all about calmness and reflection, so a slow style of yoga is best done during this time. Focus on slow, mindful types of yoga, like yin. It can also be helpful to practice meditation and mindfulness.
6. Last quarter
Moving into the last quarter moon, you’re also moving into the last cycle of the month. You want to focus on saying goodbye and getting to move into a new cycle, leaving the past behind.
For this, focus on slow, calculated movements, especially yin. This is also a good time to set goals for the new cycle, working out your intentions for the next month.
7. Waning crescent
The waning crescent is the final cycle of the moon before a new moon begins. There’s not much light emitted at this time, which means energy levels are also at their lowest.
Try to focus on stillness, compassion, and rest before the new cycle begins. Meditations and calm, slow movements are useful during this time, since you’re likely to feel your energy levels are down. Digestion is also tied to waning crescent cycles, so you might find it beneficial to do poses that help with digestion, like cobra and seated side-bend.
Lunar cycles could be just what you need to energize your practice
If you’re ready to change the way you think of yoga, you might find that pairing your practice with lunar cycles is ideal. Lunar cycle yoga can help you immerse yourself in yoga’s ancient traditions, helping you build a stronger connection to your practice. It can also help with focus, awareness of the world around you, and meditation, so there are plenty of reasons to try it out!