With a rising interest in Full Moon and New Moon circles and practices amongst the yoga community, Clara Bradley, Yoga Teacher and Energy Healer, addresses all the hype and explains more about the relationship between us and the Moon. Intrigued? Read on as she shares all the juicy details...
Full Moon yoga. Full Moon circles. New Moon gatherings. Comments on lunar qualities. These have all become commonplace in yoga studios across Melbourne and are often only subtle references to the Moon’s cycles. We rarely get the chance to dive into what this means for our yoga practice or the energetic changes that we may or may not be aware of experiencing during different phases of the Moon. So the big question is, how does the Moon affect us? But more so, how can we work with these celestial movements and how should they be reflected in our practice? The two major lunations that are often referenced in any wellness or “woo-woo” circles are the New and Full Moon.
Let’s start with the Full Moon. The Full Moon is simply when the Moon is fullest in our sky; when the Earth has moved out of the way and the complete, facing side of the Moon is able to refract all of that delicious sunlight back to us in the form of a golden, yellow surface, illuminating our night sky. Full Moons have been traditionally associated with lunacy in the West — people going wild and emergency rooms experience higher numbers when the Moon is full. It is often mentioned that as a species we go awry this time of the month due to the magnetic pull of the Moon against our oceanic tides, relating loosely to the fact that our bodies are mainly made up of water. While this makes logical sense, there actually is no scientific basis for this train of thought.
Instead, what we do know is that as a species, humans are trained to be more active and aware during the Full Moon phase. This is an evolutionary consequence that is much less magical as it is due to there literally being more light, therefore more access to socialising after dark and also accessibility to harvesting crops through the night in traditional agriculture structures.
This is an evolutionary consequence that is much less magical as it is due to there literally being more light.
So when it comes to our modern world, we know that the Full Moon is a more active, social, vibrant and fast time. In regards to your yoga practice, it’s a more Yang or masculine time that is suited to dynamic movement, high-energy flows. In regards to personal work and development, it’s a great time for removing obstacles.
Contrastingly, around two weeks following the Full Moon, we’ll see a New Moon. This period is when the Earth’s shadow is cast over the Moon’s surface, meaning that we lose a lot of that refracting light and nights are at their darkest. As a result, the New Moon appears as a deep blue sphere in the night sky, that is often much more difficult to find. Traditionally, a New Moon is a time of darkness when we should be more quiet, more contained, less social, demand less of ourselves and spend more time in contemplative solitude.
From a yoga perspective, it could also be a wonderful time to do more Yin practices, harnessing this opposing feminine energy and a brilliant time for energy healing or subtle body work. It’s often a time that I suggest my clients receive sessions for more potent transformation. It’s a great time to slow down, for self-care and to take stock of where you’re at. It is a perfect for doing any reflective emotional work like journaling on the blessings and downfalls of the last month, along with building a manifestation list or considering what you’d like to replace any negative space.
All that said, we know that Full Moons mean higher energy, more active, dynamic movement and maybe also feeling more social. Professionally, you might be more available and open to partnerships and collaborations or open to group work during this phase. While on the other hand, we know that the New Moon is the perfect time to slow down and get grounded in our practice, to focus on calming pranayama and much more meditation. With the lack of light casted from this Moon, we have an easier pathway to go inward. But what happens in between? Are we simply just moving from one extreme to the other?
My short answer would be no. In fact, I find that it much more helpful to engage with the subtler aspects of the Moon cycles. As an energetic healer and yoga teacher, I’ve found that the juicy, deep work happens in the subtle, less obvious aspects of our life.
When we move from Full Moon to New Moon, the Moon begins to shrink, evolving into just a sliver of light. During this time, we’re moving through the following moon cycles: disseminating, third quarter and balsamic. Each of these “in-between” phases lasts for around three to four days. Interestingly, lunar expert Ezzie Spencer claims that each of these cycles flips from Yin to Yang energy. Full is Yang, disseminating is Yin, third quarter is Yang, balsamic is Yin and so forth. I would suggest checking out Ezzie’s wonderful resources for diving deeper into the meaning of these phases and how you can work with them on both a personal development and a professional level.
To sum it all up, it’s all in the process. We can assume that the process of going from a Full to New Moon means moving into a more quiet, slow and still way of being. And moving from New to Full means replenishing, uplifting energy that we may have a greater capacity to draw from. We have more stamina to perhaps try new asana while riding this wave.
I find that it much more helpful to engage with the subtler aspects of the Moon cycles. To sum it all up, it’s all in the process.
Another interesting perspective is the relationship between a woman’s menstrual cycle and the lunar cycles. Yogini and menstrual cycle guru Samantha Neal refers to the the menstrual and lunar cycles as being representative of our earthly seasons — Full Moon coinciding with Summer, Third Quarter with Autumn, New Moon with Winter and First Quarter with Spring. This is a very simple and easy way to understand our lunar movements. If we look at the seasons of our skies and ask ourselves how this is affecting us internally, we may become more embodied students and more open teachers.
Even if you don’t have interest or believe in astrology, you can notice and feel the changes throughout the month in yourself and the people around you. By tapping into these cycles, your work productivity, yoga practice, social and family life can benefit. A simple and easy way to get started, is to map out the lunar phases in your journal and each day take note of what phase we’re in alongside a quick assessment of your mood and energy levels. Over time, the correlations and patterns will become very clear.
To dive deeper into this work and tap into the moon cycles, please get in touch with Clara through her business Seed of Self.
Clara Bradley is a yoga teacher and certified Reiki Practioner. She has been working with vedic wisdom for 19 years, specialising in yoga and energy work. She has a passion for Ayurveda and has inherited a natural ability for intuitive reading.
Image photography of Clara by Caii Rose.