We don’t practice on Moon Days.  Full moon, new moon – we’re reminded in class the day before and prompted by a sweet handwritten notice on the door: No practice tomorrow, 21st Feb.  New Moon.  Xx

Up until now, I’ve just been grateful for the rest days, without questioning as to why we have them.  It’s like Ashtanga Friday Party Night – round two.  Turn off the alarm, eat a heavy meal for dinner if you want to, and hell, why not head to the Havana bar and sit out on the balcony and drink a mojito or two?  But yesterday, when we finished, despite it being only two days on since Saturday (our weekly rest day), I felt in my body that I needed another rest.  I wasn’t tired as such, but I was just finding it harder to focus, like I was being weighted down and needed some time to process stuff that’s going on in the background.  Issues of the heart, and things like that.

I’m saying goodbye to something that needs to go.  Has done for a while, but I’ve not had the courage, or the self-worth, to actually do it.  Even though my head, my gut, my closest friends are telling me its right, there’s still something in me that feels loss and pain over the whole thing.  I’m not sure if it’s mourning the what could have been, even though there was never going to be a future in it, or whether it’s just a bad habit – like smoking.  An emotional crutch, that once gone has the potential to set me free.

I looked up Moon Days today.  I woke up, and unlike any other rest day, wanted nothing more than to sit on my mat for a few minutes.  I love my yoga mat.  I can’t even remember where I got it, or how much it cost, but I’m pretty sure it was an on-line discount investment a few years back, in the hope that it would encourage me to start practicing at home.  The result of which was a highly sporadic and intermittent practice, that barely covered the cost of it…until now.  Every morning I’m with it.  Watching my hands and feet pressing into it, hovering my body, just a few centimetres above it, before lowering my pelvis, and feeling my chest open and lift as I straighten my arms, and look to the sky.  I can feel its texture right now, the way it softens under pressure, and has started to lose its definition from the imprints of my palms.  I don’t really like its colour, but I love the way it sweeps across the floor and flattens, marking out your space, your territory, wherever you are…a rectangular space, just for you.

So the reason Ashtangis don’t practice on full moons and new moons, is because of the watery nature of human beings, and its correlation with Earth, and the phases of the moon.

The Ashtanga Yoga Centre http://www.ashtangayogacenter.com/moon.html states that the gravitational pulls of the sun and the moon create energy cycles that mirror that of the breath.  I’m sure you’ve gathered, by my blogs to date, that the breath is fundamental to the practice.   The full moon, correlates to the end of an inhalation.  Uplifting, energising, but carries you up into the clouds.

A new moon is like the end of an exhalation.  Lowering, constricting, grounding…at our least active.  Today, I feel that way.  I feel like my mind and my gut are overriding my emotions.  Being still, on my mat, in absolute silence, I made my decision to say goodbye.  Perhaps I was cruel in how it was done.  Perhaps its the greatest kindness to the two of us.  I wish it didn’t have to hurt so much, but tomorrow a new cycle begins.  We start to inhale, we start to lift, we carry on….