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Endings and Beginnings

by Julie PetersOctober 02, 2014

During the time of the Fall Equinox, which fell this year on the same week as a new moon, the energy shift feels palpable. Many people can feel the change in light and weather, and treat September as its own sort of New Year.

The new moon represents new beginnings, a moment to plant seeds for what you would like to grow as the light of the moon waxes. It’s also important to acknowledge that often a new beginning implies an ending of some sort. In just the same way, endings always imply a new beginning. As the grand narrative of the summer ending and the shift into fall happens in the atmosphere, many of us take that story inside and see something in our lives or our hearts coming to an end as summer wanes, and open ourselves to come sort of new beginning. Grief and hope are often intimately intertwined.

The dark moment of the new moon is like the moment when your exhale ends, and your inhale hasn’t quite started yet, but you know it’s about to come. We can’t stay at the bottom of an exhale (just try it and see how long your body lets you get away with it) and while it’s valuable to pause at the end of a cycle and take a moment to think about what might be coming next for you, we can’t stagnate there; we need to be able to keep moving.

One of the many gifts of my yoga practice has been the experience of being able to move emotion through my physical body. Grief, anger, and regret sit heavy in the hips or stick the bones together in front of the heart. There is a danger of hardening around these old hurts, of letting them shellac walls around our tender places, and a mindful yoga practice can help us to release their grip on us (or perhaps, our grip on them) and then energetically digest whatever has been going on. We can create an opening for hope: that sliver of light that appears in the night sky a few nights after the new moon.

Of course there is no timeline for managing grief and hurt, but we can know that even when things feel dark that there is light building somewhere. Here are two practices you can incorporate into your yoga practice that may help you acknowledge the blurry line between endings and beginnings, to let go of what is no longer needed, and make space for new light.

Camel Breaths

As you inhale, roll up to standing on your knees (you may want to pad your knees with a blanket if they are sensitive). Offer your hands up to the sky and let your chest open, creating space for possibility. As you exhale out your mouth, fold over your legs and touch your fingertips and forehead to the earth, grounding out whatever you are ready to release. Repeat at least three times, ideally with your eyes closed.

Lotus Mudra

Start in Anjali Mudra, the prayer hands you see most frequently in yoga. Keep the wrists, thumbs, and pinkies touching, but open the three middle fingers of each hand. You’ve created a little vessel, a little cup that can be a signal of both an offering and a request to receive. You can incorporate this into a practice anytime you would do the prayer hands, you can meditate with it, or simply take a few breaths to hold the mudra and make a wish.

Julie Peters

Join yoga teacher Julie Peters on an exploration into the real life of yoga—how the philosophies and experiences of the practice can help us learn from our bodies, enrich our relationships, face our deepest shadows, and laugh at ourselves along the way. Julie is the author of the book Secrets of the Eternal Moon Phase Goddesses: Meditations on Desire, Relationships, and the Art of Being Broken (Turner Publishing). See for more details.

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