What is a Moon Day?

In Ashtanga Yoga practice, a Moon Day is the day on which a full or new moon exerts its strongest influence.

So What?

Regular Ashtanga Yoga practitioners should not practice on Moon days. The day of rest is the day of your regular practice time nearest to the approaching new or full moon.

Tim Miller’s website is often referred to on why this is:

Like all things of a watery nature (human beings are about 70% water), we are affected by the phases of the moon. The phases of the moon are determined by the moon’s relative position to the sun. Full moons occur when they are in opposition and new moons when they are in conjunction. Both sun and moon exert a gravitational pull on the earth. Their relative positions create different energetic experiences that can be compared to the breath cycle. The full moon energy corresponds to the end of inhalation when the force of prana is greatest. This is an expansive, upward moving force that makes us feel energetic and emotional, but not well grounded. The Upanishads state that the main prana lives in the head. During the full moon we tend to be more headstrong.

The new moon energy corresponds to the end of exhalation when the force of apana is greatest. Apana is a contracting, downward moving force that makes us feel calm and grounded, but dense and disinclined towards physical exertion.

The Farmers Almanac recommends planting seeds at the new moon when the rooting force is strongest and transplanting at the full moon when the flowering force is strongest.

Practicing Ashtanga Yoga over time makes us more attuned to natural cycles. Observing moon days is one way to recognise and honour the rhythms of nature so we can live in greater harmony with it. 

Why do the Moon Days on this page, not always correspond to the days of full and new moon specified on the calendar, and scientific websites? 

Mathew Sweeney:

“Firstly, women seem to feel these phases more often than men. Partly that is because of menstruation and ovulation, and how these can often synchronise naturally with the full Moon and new Moon and partly it is because women are usually more sensitive. A woman typically feels what a man tends to think about. If you don’t actually "feel" the effects of the Moon, then you may need to adjust how you practice. Try to feel your body when you practice, rather than control your postures, control your alignment and control your breath. Too much of this sort of practice usually leads to a disconnection from being present and a disconnection from basic sensitivity. By surrendering to the process, by surrendering to your own natural sensitivity and vulnerability, a natural result of this inner revealing wakes up aspects of the Subtle Body that is rarely possible otherwise. One way to help facilitate this sensitivity is to keep a Moon diary. Actually write down your experiences coming up to each full moon and new moon. Notice your dreams, or their lack, how your body feels, and what kind of energy and feeling you have each time you practice. Sooner or later you should notice certain themes around each phase of the Moon.

As evidenced by my experiences in my own body, and from helping many female students over the years, most teachers of Ashtanga Yoga apply the Moon days using Suryanamaskara (Sun) based conditioning. That is, often taught from the logical mind, the "set" traditional day. I would say, energetically, that this is the masculine point of view. Keep in mind that all men and women share this, it is not simply because you are male or female, rather we each carry the archetype of those particular energies.

Although the observance of the Moon day is a good thing, not practicing on the exact day of the full Moon and new Moon is usually a day too late. Rigidly following the Moon day timetable is exactly the opposite of intuitively feeling the Moon energy. In this case you are using your Surya mind rather than connecting with your Moon belly. Feeling when it is appropriate not to practice, feeling when the Moon is drawing to it's lowest, or peaking to it's highest requires a bit more letting go, and a bit more awareness, but well worth it. As the cycle waxes towards the full Moon, it is the process of peaking and expanding that we can feel. As the cycle wanes towards the new Moon, it is the process of reducing and contracting that we can feel. By the time the Moon is actually full, for example, it is too late. From the process point of view, at its very peak the Full Moon energy is already moving towards the "new". One problem with this, will mean different students will not practice on different days depending how they feel. Thus it becomes difficult to keep a structured day off, the logical weekly timetable will be disrupted. Keep in mind, that in terms of energy, the Moon has no rational logic to it.”

Nigel: OK thanks for that. Im understanding it as a principle. And I think I have noticed stuff leading up to the actual Moondays. Question: how then to calculate the day to take off at the studio? 

Mathew: The way to make it easier, is to calculate based on the preceding 12-24 hours. If Full moon is peaking at 8am Friday morning, I would have the Thursday morning off for all students rather than Friday off. 

If it was peaking 1pm that same day (Friday), it's a bit of a toss up whether to take the Friday or the Thursday off - but generally I would still take the thursday off. If it was peaking at anywhere after 6pm Friday (more than 12 hours if practice is at 6am) then Friday is the day to take off.

I also advise most women (pre menopause) to take 1 or 2 days off around both menstruation and ovulation, and typically observe how close to full moon or new moon that is. And somewhere in there to also practice a gentle sequence to connect with that ebb and flow. 

Why are the moon days sometimes occurring on different dates in other territories?

The moon is not completely full or new for an arbitrarily nominated day or 24 hour period. The moon is completely full or new, only for a moment. In different time zones the completely full or new moon occurs at different times of day. And therefore sometimes on different days. For instance, in Bangkok in 2010 the moon was full on the 8th of October at 1:44 am. London is 6 hours behind Bangkok, so in London the moon was completely full at 7:44 pm on the 7th of October, the previous day.

South East Asia* Moon Days

Moon Days

2017


January

February

March

April

May

June

July

August

September

October

November

December

*Applicable to Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Taiwan, Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, Laos

New Moon


Sat 28th

Sun 26th

Tue 28th

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Fri 26th

Sat 24th

Sun 23rd

Mon 21st

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Full Moon


Thu 12th

Sat 11th

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Mon 7th

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Sun 3rd