Ashtanga Moon Days
2023 Moon Days
Why Moon Days?
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. A full moon occurs when they are in opposition, and a new moon occurs 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 the 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 toward 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.