Yoga for the Lunar Phases
A guest post by Jessica Kaitse
Movement is an important aspect to moving energy throughout the body and when it’s done in an aligned way with the energy of the moon, changing up our Yoga practice to match the energy can be incredibly potent.
Each lunar phase calls for different ways we can nourish and support ourselves and cultivate our energy in the lunar cycle ahead.
Yoga for the New Moon
- Setting a Sankalpa
- Yoga Nidra
The New Moon is a time for quiet reflection and turning inward to connect with the mind and body again following the previous Lunar Cycle. We are still in the gentle stage of the end of shedding from the previous cycle.
The New Moon is ideal for setting an intention for the lunar cycle ahead, with the use of a Sankalpa or intention. This is something that is traditionally done at the beginning of a Yoga class when seated
cross-legged in Easy Pose but can be done any time in a moment of deep meditation.
An aligned intention comes with deep and undisturbed insight that can be done through the practice of Yoga Nidra. It could be described as a guided meditation but it is a purposeful mental awareness of each part of the body, allowing us to connect with the Self as a higher being.
Yoga Nidra is traditionally done in Corpse Pose and a bolster can be placed under the knees to support the lower back.
Yoga for the Crescent Moon
- Breathwork: Square breath or alternate nostril breathing
- Postures: Slow Flow or Hatha Yoga focusing on standing and balancing poses
In the shadow of the New Moon, the Waxing Crescent moon is the gentle thawing of the body and gentle movement and breathwork such as Alternate Nostril Breathing can be integrated. Consider it a warm up
for the next First Quarter phase.
Before any practice, take a moment to reflect on your intention for the cycle to become clear on what you want to achieve.
A gentle slow flow in the traditional Hatha style where poses are held a little longer with a focus on standing and balancing poses such as Volcano, Tree, Warrior I and Triangle poses for alignment and grounding of energies is ideal in this phase.
Yoga for the First Quarter Moon
- Active styles of Yoga such as Vinyasa and Ashtanga
- Include inversions like Downward Dog or Plough Pose Inversions
- Go to classes to tap into this energetic and sociable period
In the phase of the First Quarter Moon, there is a shift between a slow awakening to a burst of energy and confidence which is the perfect time to incorporate challenging styles and inversions.
The styles of Yoga we can incorporate during this time are Vinyasa or Ashtanga as the movements are done at a much faster pace, tapping into those energy stores.
Inversions are best left for this time of the Lunar Cycle as they will be supportive of the cycle, as well as require energy and stamina to maintain the inversion. Shoulder stand, Plow, Downward Dog and Side Stretch Poses are just some of the challenging inversions you can do during this time.
Yoga for the Gibbous Moon
- Reduce intensity of inversions
- Faster styles but conscious slowing down of flow
The Gibbous phase, much like the First Quarter Phase, can also be used to focus on being and the capability of the physical vessel with the faster styles of Yoga.
This may be the time to either do inversions or leave them out entirely to conserve energy.
We may be feeling more energetic and magnetic with the impending Full moon, but we may also want to make the conscious choice to begin slowing down slightly by avoiding challenging poses.
Yoga for the Full Moon
- Moon Salutations under the Full Moon
When the Full Moon blooms, it is a time to celebrate our achievements and signify the beginning of the healing phase and leaving the things behind that no longer serve us. In Ayurveda, the Full Moon is
seen as the most nourishing moon as it has the powers of the sun in a Yin-like way, gently nourishing the mind and body.
The Moon Salutation flow under the Full Moon is one of the most connected ways to celebrate the energy of this moon.
Yoga for Disseminating Moon
- Heart & Hip Openers
Following the Full Moon, we now begin to begin winding down and we will feel this too. This is a time to expel and purge the things that no longer serve us.
It is said that we hold emotions and trauma in the heart space and the hips, so I encourage the use of Hip and Heart Openers in this phase as a way to self-nourish with poses such as Standing Forward
Fold, Winged Dragon, Happy Baby, Fish, Camel and Bow Pose. The aim here is not to move quickly, but to flow with ease and kindness toward the body and the Self.
Yoga for the Last Quarter & Balsamic Moon
- Nourishing restorative
In the last quarter and balsamic moon, we are heading toward the end of the lunar cycle.
In this phase, Restorative Yoga is ideal as you are completely supported in the pose that is held for several minutes.
The props allow comfort and stability as we hold poses with gravity supporting us, allowing us to feel nourished and safe in this meditative and gentle practice.
Restorative poses that are ideal in this phase are Supported Child, Fish, Butterfly, Twist and Waterfall.
Lunar Yoga + Lunar Essences
These beautiful yoga flows through the lunar cycle pair beautifully with the Astrology of Health Lunar Essences. 8 consumable essences for each cycle of the moon. The Lunar Essences can now also be ordered in homoeopathic pillule form with no alcohol for those who don't want brandy in their essences. Find out more about the lunar essences here.
About the Author: Jessica Kaitse
Jessica Kaitse is a RYT200 Yoga Teacher specialising in Yin Yoga & Yoga Nidra incorporating Medical Astrology into her flows.
podcast: AstroYoga Podcast