Full Moon Sequence.
“When all living things I contemplate,
your sun and stars, your galaxies,
like a flickering candle flame
my soul is overcome,
and just as the moon can only shine
by reflection of its sun, so is my being,
only to wane into the unseen,
until it stands
In the Ashtanga tradition it is advised to take a day of rest from your asana practice on both full and new moons. The theory is that the gravitational pull of the moon affects our bodies and our prana. On new moons the gravity of the moon is weak and that of the earth is strong. We are heavily grounded and may not have enough energy for an athletic asana practice.
During the full moon the gravity of the moon is strong, activating Prana Vayu and Udhana Vayu. These strong upward flows can uproot us and disrupt our connection to the earth. I am not an Ashtangi, but I do agree that the gravity of the moon affects the flow of prana in our bodies and thereby affects us on all planes of our existence.
On August 31, 2012 we will experience a Blue Moon, the 2nd full moon in a month. During the first full moon on August 1st I planned a sequence to help my students stay grounded and I plan to repeat it—or a variation of it—on the upcoming blue moon and future full moon days. This practice could also be used during other times of heightened stress, anxiety or upheaval such as during a Mercury retrograde. I used a similar sequence during an especially volatile political period in my community.
Read the following legal stuff before you go further:
Not all exercise is suitable for everyone. This or any exercise program may result in injury. Consult with your doctor before use. Yoga instructors teaching this sequence to students should have comprehensive yoga training and liability insurance. To reduce the risk of injury, never force or strain yourself or your students during exercise. If you feel pain, stop and seek medical attention if necessary.
This sequence may not be appropriate during pregnancy. Any instructor teaching yoga to pregnant women should have specialized training in Prenatal Yoga and should provide appropriate modifications for contraindicated poses. Those with special health considerations should consult their medical practitioner before performing any exercise.
elephantjournal and Yoga in the Valley/Tracy Johnson cannot guarantee that this yoga program is suitable and safe for every individual. Any liability, loss or damage in connection with the use of the following yoga sequence, including but not limited to any liability, loss or damage arising from the performance of the exercises demonstrated here is expressly disclaimed.
Full Moon Yoga Sequence
Child’s Pose (balasana)
Chakravakrasana (cat/cow variation)
Downward Dog (adho mukha svanasana)
Standing Forward Fold (uttanasana)
Roll Up to Mountain Pose (tadasana)
Moon Salutation Variation:
Standing Sequence 1:
Side Stretch Right
Wide Angle Forward Fold with side to side*
Hindi Squat (opt Crow**)
Low Lunge Twist
(vinyasa or down dog, repeat on left)
Standing Sequence 2:
Wide Angle Forward Fold (opt. Tripod Headstand)
Low Lunge twist
(vinyasa to child’s pose, hold 9 breaths because the full moon is a circle or 360 degrees is equal to nine, that is to say, 3+6+0=9. , repeat on left)
(vinyasa or down dog, repeat on left)
Tree Pose with guided visualization-hands in Anjali Mudra*
*Begin at the heart, envision the tree trunk and the concentric rings moving inward to the core of the tree. Your body is strong and stable, like the trunk of a tree. Move down through your core into the earth. Feel your feet in the earth rather than on the earth. Feel the soles of your feet spreading and merging with the earth, growing and extending roots down deep and wide, etc.
Flowing Cobra (9x)
Reclining Hip Opener
Bridge (keep it low, intense back bending such as wheel would be too energizing)
Head to Knee Pose
Seated Forward Fold
If I have time I like to finish with about 3 minutes of Chandra Bhedana.
Always do the practice yourself before attempting to teach it.
Keep your tone of voice low, smooth and cool.
Avoid excessive heat in the studio. 70-72 degrees is warm enough to facilitate a good stretch without being “heating”.
Incorporate images and references to circles, cooling, exhalation, grounding, release wherever possible in your cueing.
Be deliberate in teaching Kakasana (crow) vs. Bakasana (crane). Do you know the difference? I taught for 10 years before I knew. I think there is a future blog post in this but for now here are your base cues: hands slightly wider than shoulders & internally rotated 10 degrees, knees wide and pressed to outer arms, hips low, toes together, head up.
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Tracy has been exploring movement in its many forms since she began dancing at age 15. Her career as a dancer and choreographer led her to the study of Martial Arts, Massage Therapy and finally Yoga. As a Yoga Instructor she combines an understanding of anatomy and kinesiology with creative Vinyasa sequences rooted in the Ashtanga style and influenced by her many wonderful teachers. Tracy teaches yoga to kids and grown-ups in Western WI. She is the creator of Little Lotus Kids Yoga Cards and teacher training program www.littlelotuskidsyoga.com. She blogs about yoga, life and love at www.yogainthevalley.blogspot.com.
Editor: Carolyn Gilligan