Have you ever taken a walk under a full moon and felt... loved?
I often ask this question when talking to people about Ayurveda and our deep connection to the cycles of the natural world. Ayurveda recognizes the potential healing power of everything around us, including our beloved sun and moon.
The Dark And Bright Sides of the Moon
According to Ayurveda, the full moon is a powerful healing force. It's associated with the energy of kapha making it a time of fullness, cooling, calming and nurturing. It is a time for creating and bringing new things into the world and for honoring the creative and nurturing forces within us. The qualities of full moon energy are similar to those of Kapha; cool, heavy, slow and dense. And these qualities often show up in our minds and bodies during this time.
That's okay because it'a natural time for slowing down, cooling out, quietly observing our relationships (with ourselves and the world around us) and feeling and expressing gratitude.
Our love affair with all things hot, stimulating, and energizing, has influenced in many ways our relationship to the moon and all that it has to offer in the way of healing and transformation. We forget that for every yang, you need a yin, for every “Ha” (sun in Sanskrit), you need a “tha” (moon in Sanskrit)—as in Hatha yoga! And since the next full moon is quickly approaching (it's coming up around Sept 8th), and there will be many more after that, here are a few powerful ways you can harness the power of the moon inside of you and out!
1. Enjoy light foods or light fasting
One of the best ways to stay balanced and clear during the full moon is to counter its heavy and cooling qualities by taking light, warm and nourishing foods. A sattvic diet is highly recommended during this time. Avoid meats, processed foods, leftovers, frozen food, onions, garlic and any foods that are excessively salty or spicy. Many yogis observe light fasting (taking one light sattvic meal during the day) on the new and full moon days, and/or in the days just after them.
Enjoying fresh, light cooked foods during this time will keep you feeling clear, calm, alert and receptive in your mind and body.
2. Take your senses for a spin
The full moon is a time to honor the sensual side of life. According to Ayurveda, our senses are the bridge between the outside world and the inside world. They connect the body to the mind and the soul.
Many of us have lost touch with the power of our senses to inform and enliven our experience of living. The full moon is a regular opportunity to be reminded of how our sensory experience inspires and sustains us. It's a time to fully enjoy our sensual side. So be sure to use this time to listen to soothing music, slow down and taste the flavors of your food, delight in naturally clarifying and relaxing scents like sandalwood and frankincense, or take a moonlight walk and enjoy the beautiful sight (and feel) of the moon with someone you love.
3. Practice moon salutations
Most everyone who's ever stepped on a yoga mat has heard of Sun Salutations (Surya Namaskar). But not everyone is familiar with the sequence known as Moon Salutation (Chandra Namaskar). The moon salutation sequence offers a soothing alternative to the warming and energizing Surya Namaskar. It honors the quiet yin energy in all of us and creates a perfect counter balance to our non-stop overactive lifestyles.
Moon Salutations can be practiced any time you're looking to access and cultivate the nurturing, creative and sensual side of your nature, or to cool the heat of pitta. Like Surya Namaskar, they can serve as a practice in themselves for times when you need to connect with your intuition. Practice Moon Salutations with a mind to turning your attention inward and listen for what your heart (or the moon) has to say! Here's a quick Moon Salutation demo:
It's time to start the honeymoon...
Ayurveda teaches us that creating harmony with our environment is a vital part of creating happiness inside and out. So consider incorporating these activities into a routine that you can transition into each time the full moon comes around. The cycles of the natural world are our powerful dance partners in this life. Honoring and observing them is a choice that each one of us can make. And our ability to live blissfully often comes down to whether we're willing to dance!
How does the full moon affect you? What's your practice for observing (dancing with) the full moon?