A Yoga Practice for the New Moon
Updated: Mar 31, 2021
On this day before the New Moon, my yoga practice focused on releasing, unplugging, and clearing my slate. It included many grounding, first Chakra poses such as Janu Sirsasana (Head to Knee Pose)
and Vrksasana (Tree),
as well as the sweet, simple seat, Sukhasana (Easy Cross-legged Pose).
These poses, in addition to some others I chose for this day had me really feeling a connection to the Earth element. Some poses were challenging, but I have learned, over time, to find an ease and a comfort in my body alongside the effort and deep sensations. In this way, I cultivate an ability to relax and be still through the stresses of not only my yoga practice, but also, my life.
Just as it takes an athletic practice to develop strength, cultivating an inner calm requires practice, as well. Physically, my yin and yang yoga practices have brought more flexibility to my body, but they have strengthened my mind, as well. Staying for half a minute in a challenging pose like Parsva Bakasana (Side Crow Pose) with
equanimity, trains the mind to endure distractions and subtle discomfort. With practice, I’ve begun to learn to draw on this spirit wherever I go.
In the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, he teaches that one of the obstacles in any journey, not only in yoga but in life itself, can be doubt. Doubt begins with some type of discomfort or a certain dis-ease that can include a dullness of the mind. These are often symptoms of a loss or a lack of focus on something positive. With discomfort in the body and dullness of the mind, a practice - of yoga or life - can become irregular and unbalanced, and one may become filled with uncertainty about its benefits and the reasons to continue the journey.
Unquestionably, suffering can make us uneasy and we want to turn away. But, we have a choice to change our view. Undoubtedly, pain in life is inevitable. Suffering, however, can be redirected with strength of mind. Instead of sinking into despair, we may choose to focus on something different: Like compassion. When I shift my perspective, I change my reality. If my object of focus changes from seeing only my discomfort and unhappiness, toward self-compassion with a softening of intense effort and a longer view, I remember that “this too shall pass,” and that I may even become stronger as a result of the experience. The more frequently I initiate this change of focus for myself, I find I am becoming better equipped to offer it out in a way that gives support to others. Therefore, my practice naturally transcends myself.
In my practice, I turn my focus to imagine that I am complete just as I am, with no need to expect anything to be different; no need to criticize, to judge, or to change anything. Instead, I seek to find pleasure, patience, and self-love as I move forward in my pursuits. Turning my back on negativity, I make offerings of kindness and compassion, first for myself, which in turn, I witness spilling over into the lives of those I cherish.
Ahimsa, one of the Yamas of the First Limb of Yoga states that one of the avenues toward happiness is to take good care in choosing not only right actions, but also pure words and thoughts, so that we do no harm to anyone. “Anyone” includes oneself. In this way, mindfully seeking ways to provide benefits to self and others, we live a journey of happiness worth exploring.
Tapping into a connection with Muladhara (Root) Chakra and inspired by my reading (Eastern Body, Western Mind by Anodea Judith), the affirmation I selected for my practice today is, “The earth supports me and meets my needs.”
This is an idea I can reflect upon, on the mat and off, as I move into the rest of my day. How wonderful to be mindful of the beauty that, every day, Nature bestows upon us - the awesome serenity and balance as well as the dramatic and intense. I consider how lucky I am for my home; my shelter, my protection, my cocoon; my sweet seat of restoration. With appreciation of spirit and gratitude in my heart, I am brought into the present moment where I have no need for anything more.
Remember, you, too, are complete just as you are and, “The earth will support you and meet your needs.”
If you would like a free, illustrated list of a dozen poses, perfect for your practice during the days around the phase of each New Moon, OR a free audio recording of the stretching and meditation I used for my New Moon practice today, please click here: https://www.dawnslightyogaforlife.com/shop
The light within me bows to the light within you.