Today marks the first quarter of the moon, half moon, maiden moon, or waxing moon phase…what ever you want to call it. At Yoga In The House we offer a Moon Phase Yoga class for Women, which aims to follow the lunar cycle, to help women fine-tune their intuitive abilities to listen to and respect their monthly rhythms; Biodynamic Farming, a sustainable form of organic agriculture, used in over 47 countries, follows an astronomical lunar calendar for planting, sowing and harvesting; the Steiner/Waldorf education system is currently the fastest growing international, independent education movement, which also utilizes the moon as an energetic reference and grounding tool for students and for school rhythms and festivals. Is this all just pseudoscience and/or mysticism, or is there something to paying attention to the energetic quality of the moon and how does yoga play into it?
Before I share my humble thoughts on the matter, my small disclaimer is that I would never stick an arrogantly opinionated neck out so far as to say the moon and its effects on the Earth and the sentient beings which occupy it is one thing or another. I believe it can be what ever anyone needs it to be. Current brain science and quantum physics studies (at least from the little I understand of both of these sciences), suggest quite reasonably that conviction and our beliefs/thoughts play a huge role in what ‘is’ and what ‘is not’ a reality.
That said, my understanding of the current, growing strength of things like Biodynamic Farming, Steiner Schools and Yoga comes from my reflection on our most recent past and present experiences as humans (those in the developed world anyhow) on this planet. We have spent much of our recent time and energy ignoring our intrinsic relationship with the Earth and the Universe. Surrounding ourselves with plastics and artificial light, food, flavor, breasts, expectations and relationships. Regardless of its solid, scientific evidence, things like lunar cycles, natural rhythms and old world methods and festivities (like Yoga and Biodynamic Farming) help inspire our thoughts, minds and spirits to put our physical feet more firmly and integrally on the ground and connect again to the ‘real’ life and death cycle of the natural world. Keeping in mind the very ‘real’ and well founded evidence of the moon’s effects on the Earth (the tide most notably), I personally see our collective reaching out and paying more attention its cycle and its significance to us (physically, emotionally and spiritually) as a necessary shift in our awareness from that of disconnect from the Earth/natural cycles, to that of deeper connection with our Home.
Yoga is a great example of both of these changes in the developed world: a collective movement of people reaching out for a deeper connection, and of something that first was viewed skeptically as mysticism/pseudoscience by the west, that is now gaining more and more scientific evidence and support from researchers, physicians and other health care workers.
Therefore, in light of enjoying the moon as a grounding, naturally rhythmic tool to reflect on and utilize to deepen our yoga practice and our connection to the Earth, this week is the waxing moon/quarter moon phase. It represents the spring, the seed sprouting and reaching towards the sun, towards its fullest potential. It is a lively, energetic phase, full of naive and fruitful bliss and joy. Try practicing a lot of standing postures with vigor and strength. Reach high up when extending your arms and chest, feel unleashed like the sprouting seed, boundless.
Follow your heart, trust in the sunlight and reach high for it.
And, remember, that although there is a larger, earthly and universal rhythm, we are not always a mirror image of it (at least, not always the way we expect to be). If your personal rhythm is currently in a fall or winter, or waning or new moon phase, respect it, don’t push it forcefully towards a spring or summer (or waxing or full moon phase). Winter is a necessary season, without it there is not rest or retrospect, so don’t judge it negatively and plow through it with eagerness to move on. What ever discomfort winter presents is just an opportunity for growth and learning. Trust that your spring will come, in it’s own, sometimes long-drawn-out-like-in-Saskatchewan time. (That said, we have had some nice, brief bursts of spring this winter…like this week…perfect timing for the waxing moon phase practice, don’t you think?)
For further reading on yoga for women and how to draw on natural cycles, like the moon as a reflective tool, check out The Woman’s Yoga Book, by Bobby Clennell (http://www.bobbyclennell.com/wy.html).
For further information on clinical studies backing yoga as an effective health care tool, check out Yoga as Medicine, by Timothy McCall, M.D. (http://www.drmccall.com/).