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Yoga for the Moon Cycles

by Julie PetersJune 11, 2014
Practice

Over the last couple of years, I’ve been tuning into the energetic cycles of the moon. I find that a mindful nod to the moon in my yoga practice can be very nourishing, and shine a (blue, night) light on what’s happening in my life as well as in my body. Below, I’ve chosen a yoga pose to represent each quarter of the moon corresponding to its unique energy that you can incorporate into your practice. Check with your doctor first if you have any health concerns.

New Moon: Child’s Pose (Embryo Variation): Self Reflection

Sit back on your heels with your knees and big toes touching, and let your forehead come to the floor. Rest your hands beside your hips.

The New Moon, the darkest night of the cycle, is a time to rest, reflect, and plant metaphorical seeds. The moon pauses, neither waxing nor waning, encouraging us to do the same. Here, we simply feel, no need for action. Child’s pose, curls us up into little seeds, full of potential, but not quite ready to sprout.

Waxing Half Moon: Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon Pose): Creative Movement

From a standing forward fold, lift your right leg up and stack your right hip on top of your left. Lift your chest away from the floor, keeping your left fingertips on the floor or a block, and reach your right arm up. Switch sides after 5 breaths. 

As the light builds in the night sky, so does our creative energy. New ideas are popping up, and we have the energy to act on our intentions. Half Moon pose cultivates strength, confidence, and balance, and stretches out like our sprouting New Moon seeds. Now is the time to take up some space, cultivate courage, and try something new.

Full Moon: Camel Pose: Harvesting

Stand on your knees, engaging your inner thighs and pelvic floor, hands on your lower back. Lift your ribs up away from your pelvis and open your chest. Let your throat open, deepening the pose by bringing your hands to your heels. When you are ready to come out, support your lower back with your hands and sit quietly on your heels. Then return to child’s pose.

The Full Moon is harvest time: pick the fruits of the seeds you’ve planted. If they are ripe and juicy, celebrate; if they are hard and bitter, leave them for the crows. In my experience, the full moon also shines a light on hidden emotions. There’s a reason werewolves are associated with the full moon: our repressed natures can buck up to the surface at this time. Camel pose opens the chest and throat, encouraging anything stuck in there to come loose: here we honour what’s come to light, whether we like it or not.

Waning Half Moon: Crescent Moon Lunge: Organizing

Step your right foot forward, lower your back knee down, and untuck your back toes. Lengthen your stance but keep your right knee over your ankle. Reach your chest and arms up and lean back into a gentle backbend. Switch sides after 5 breaths.

As the pinnacle of Full Moon light shifts to waning, it often feels as if a fever has broken. Crescent lunge opens the hips, the seat of emotion in the body, but keeps us close to the ground for stability and rebalancing. After the harvest, the soil needs to regenerate for the next planting season: we learn our lessons, grieve what we lost, and clear a space to return to the darkness and begin the cycle all over again.

Click here for a slideshow of the yoga poses.


Julie Peters

Julie Peters is a staff writer for Spirituality & Health. She is also a yoga teacher (E-RYT 500, YACEP) and co-owner of Ocean and Crow Yoga studio in Vancouver, BC, with her mom, Jane. She is the author of Secrets of the Eternal Moon Phase Goddesses: Meditations on Desire, Relationships, and the Art of Being Broken (SkyLight Paths 2016) and WANT: 8 Steps to Recovering Desire, Passion, and Pleasure After Sexual Assault (Mango Media 2019). Learn more at www.jcpeters.ca. Follow her at @juliejcp.

Learn with Julie! 

Register for Julie's courses Stress Management Skills for Real Life: Practices for a Calmer Happier Life and Moon Goddess Meditations: A 16-night journey of desire, heartache and connection.


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