Most-likely, not many of us will be setting our beaver traps this evening, as the name of the November moon suggests, but there are other ways we might acknowledge tonight’s bold light. The moon is of one of the closest celestial objects to the Earth, and I believe it pays to bring awareness to this being. Its mass literally affects the water on our planet, it attracts our oceans, moving incredible weight of water. If the moon can affect something as powerful as the ocean, we’d be arrogant to say it does not affect our tiny bodies.
Each month feel the effect of the full moon, waking up with a mild madness, always glad when I remember it’s a full moon, that there’s a reason for my feeling ‘off.’ I’m sure many of you know what I mean – and some of you might feel it more strongly than others. Sometimes all I need is that awareness to ground myself, but certain practices can help direct that energy, or prana – into more positive or even useful direction. These practices can be especially helpful if you’re feeling particularly affected. Below I’ll discuss a few Ayurvedic perspectives on the full moon (there are many!), and offer some ways to cultivate awareness of this day.
The light of the moon is considered cooling by nature. Moon bathing, walking or basking in the light of the full moon, is a pitta-reducing therapy of Ayurveda. You may bask in the full moon, and for a few days following. Pitta is made up of the elements of Fire and Water, and things with pitta qualities are hot, sharp, light, liquid and oily. Since, naturally, the full moon is the time a woman would ovulate, it is the Pitta time of her cycle. This can be the cause of acne, hot flashes, or tenderness in the abdomen and breasts during ovulation. Moon bathing may also stimulate the pineal gland, a tiny endocrine gland that secretes hormones to regulate our sleep/wake cycles – and all our other bodily rhythms, including menstruation – are connected to these. When we get outside our body takes signals like light, temperature, tactile sensation, and can better adapt and adjust itself to the natural rhythms of our environment.
Breath work ~ Pranayama
Since the full moon is a time of intensity, a time when Pitta dosha may naturally increase, Chandra Bhedana pranayama is a breathing practice you could try. This breath is inhaled through the left nostril, then exhaled through the right with the help of your hand to close the un-used nostril – when the breathing is done through the left nostril it cools the body, and may begin to quiet the brain which may be running wild with that extra full-moon energy. Any practice of concentration, or meditation, will help to ground this energy, or prana. Since it’s so cold this time of year, I also recommend regular ol’ alternate nostril breathing, which will balance both solar and lunar energies in the body, and turn on the parasympathetic nerous system – your rest and digest signals, reducing stress. Truthfully, like much in Ayurveda, it’s not always what you’re doing, but how, and what intention you hold behind it.
To learn appropriate alternate nostril breathing, ask a nearby yoga teacher, or email me. I promise to write a post with those important details soon!
~ peace, health, sanity ~