We’ve all heard about how the effects of the full moon on our mood, but what about the New Moon? Yoga teacher, Dirish Shaktidas explores how we can harness the power of the new moon
Every asana (yoga pose) ultimately relates to the spine, the spine really is the key to the practice of yoga. Within the spine is the Sushumna, that subtle body energy channel, called a nadi that embodies the pathway of Kundalini Shakti – the energising power of the universe. On either side of the Sushumna, two main nadis named Ida and Pingala reside.
Ancient yogis knew that Ida and Pingala align our bodies with the Sun and Moon and attune us, if we’re willing, with all of creation. That explains the term hatha. Ha-tha yoga in actuality means Sun and Moon in Sanskrit. Ha = Sun. Tha = Moon.
Hatha (Sun-Moon) yoga encourages synchronisation with the celestial cycles – it’s a natural springboard for bringing body into alignment with the Sun, the Moon and the stars! It’s thought that these natural cycles promote healthier heart, mind, bodies and greater spiritual awakening. Aligning our routines to the seasons and lunar rhythms has been practiced for many moons in ancient cultures and is bound to cultivate a deeper connection to the natural laws and lunar energy that you, being a part of the universe, are deeply affected by.
The Moon symbolises the divine feminine energy of the universe, which has been revered by many of ancient cultures including those of: China, India, Israel and the Arabian Peninsula. These cultures recognised the strong influence of the Moon on planet Earth, incorporating it into their lunar calendars, which are believed to have preceded the solar ones.
The New Moon
A New Moon marks the beginning phase of the monthly lunar cycle, when the Moon and the Sun are in divine alignment. This energy is strong; you may experience low in vitality as energies of change and transformation boil up. Be gentle with yourself in the way you move, expend your energy, communicate or think, allowing time for ritual, meditation and relaxation during this New Moon phase. The New Moon and will help you align with its energy, along with offering comprehensive holistic practices to enhance your connection to the larger cosmos, empower you to release patterns in your life that no longer serve you and inspire new beginnings, leaving you feeling grounded and nurtured.
During a New Moon is an optimum time to set your intentions as the moon is starting a new cycle. With mindfulness you can align your intentions and flow into your practice making it a holistic movement experience!
New Moon Ritual
First, create a safe, sacred space for yourself. Play some meditative music, light candles and surround yourself with objects of deep meaning to you (eg pictures from your vision board, your journal, essential oils, crystals or inspiration cards).
New Moon Release
Just as farmers refer to lunar calendars by planting seeds on a New Moon, you can also use this time of renewal to plant the seeds of your intentions, set goals and reflect on your dreams.
Consider the following questions:
- What am I willing to let go of right now?
- What steps can I take to release the above?
- Close your eyes, deeply inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth, allowing your body to relax. Repeat three times.
- When you inhale next, feel the energies you would like to release one by one, silently repeating to yourself, “Let.” As you exhale, repeat to yourself, “Go.” Feel those energies, habits and behaviours from your list dissipate with each exhalation.
- Feel the physical and emotional tension evaporate as your body relaxes more deeply.
Consider the answers to the following questions:
- What would I like to invite into my life (eg vitality, peace, love, lightness, financial abundance, clarity, joy or achievement of certain goals)?
- What steps can I take to embody the wishes I outlined?
- Close your eyes and take three deep breaths in through the nose and out through the mouth. One by one, visualise yourself experiencing the feelings you desire. What is it like having your goals achieved and your dreams fulfilled?
New Moon Meditation
In the yoga tradition, the energy of the New Moon relates to the end of your exhalation, corresponding to the force of apana, which is the downward and outward movement of air, governing elimination, reproduction and immune function.
Swami Hariharananda Aranya, a yogi, Samkhya philosopher and author of one of the most respected and reliable commentaries on the yoga sutras, Yoga Philosophy of Patanjali with Bhasvati, further suggests: “Apana is so called, as it carries the wastes away and acts down to the soles of the feet.” “On a deeper level apana rules the elimination of negative sensory and emotional experiences,” explains David Frawley, founder of the American Institute of Vedic Studies and a renowned author of multiple books on yoga and Ayurveda. Apana is active in the pelvic floor and lower abdominal region, relating to the first chakra, which helps us stay safe and grounded. To increase Apana, try this grounding meditation exercise:
Begin in a comfortable seated position, cross-legged on a cushion or sitting on a chair with your feet flat on the floor. Close your eyes and keep your spine straight. Inhale deeply through the nose, drawing your energy down to the base of the spine. Hold the breath, feeling expansive at the base of the spine, until the natural need to exhale arises. Do not force breath retention. As you exhale, feel your energy flow downward through your feet into the earth. Feel grounded and supported by the earth and allow any tension to dissolve.
Apana mudra (hand posture) Join the tips of your middle and ring fingers to the top of your thumbs. Keep your index and little fingers extended. Relax your elbows. Hold this mudra for a minimum of five minutes while you meditate on your breath. Yoga teacher Swami Saradananda states, “This mudra enables you to eliminate stale air from your lungs and expel impurities in all forms, facilitating not only [the] release of urine, solid waste, sweat and menses, but emotional ‘baggage’, too,” making this mudra a suitable addition to your New Moon ritual.
New Moon Practice
Join my New Moon Practice yoga sequence. This class welcomes you to move inwards and get in touch with yourself. You will have time for self-reflection and to celebrate the new beginnings symbolised by the New Moon. With its cooling energy, the moon invites you to “chill out” on your yoga mat. Slow your movement through this series of yoga asanas; incorporating smooth and deep diaphragmatic breathing, as well as plenty of rest, if needed.