“Look deep into nature, and you will understand everything better.” Albert Einstein
Last night was full moon yoga at the studio where I work, greenmonkey. This is one of my all-time favorite events that greenmonkey does, and I was so grateful to have the time in my schedule to be able to go and participate last night! My schedule doesn’t always allow for me to get to go to these things, and I am so happy Al and I were both able to make it.
The moon was absolutely spectacular last night. Usually on full moon yoga nights, at least the last couple that I remember, including the Halloween full moon yoga class, either the moon wasn’t up yet or it was obscured by clouds.
Last night, however, the sky was absolutely clear, and the image of the moon in front of us as we practiced was so stunning and clear, it looked like the moon could be picked right out of the sky and tossed around.
What makes these events so special is that these kinds of amazing events have such tremendous power on bringing everyone together. The attendance at this event soared to over 250 yogis, and the teaching delivered by greenmonkey’s (and a Red Cheetah teacher, too!) Virginia Ansaldi and Metropolis Fitness’ yoga teacher Esther Stansu was as inspirational as it was challenging and balancing.
The beauty of this class also lands in that it is always a tandem-teach. The power of Virginia’s teaching was balanced out by the softness of Esther’s. This was just a reminder of the play of energies that exists within us all at all times: sometimes our lives require a little more power and heat, other times our lives require ease and cooling.
When the full moon occurs every month this is a reminder, too, of rituals that we need to adhere to in order to keep ourselves in balance and moving forward in powerful and impactful ways.
The last few months I have been learning a lot about the natural power of the moon. I used to think it was all silly bullshit, what people used to say about the moon having power. I clearly recall my junior high school teachers commenting to each other during a particularly hectic class switch, in a swirling hallway of preteens and hormones, that they could always tell when there was a full moon: us kids always acted way more insane than usual! For some reason, that overheard comment from well over a decade ago stuck with me. My ego brain told me that was bogus and couldn’t be true, but something else inside of me made me curious.
Ever since I moved to a coasted city, Miami has definitely taught me a lot about the power of the moon. Living near the ocean I obviously have a lot of friends and acquaintances who spend a lot of time in, near, or on the water, and even more who live on a beach. With the ever-changing condition of our planet’s entire ecosystem, I hear quite a bit about what happens on South Beach during high tide. And what causes high tides? The pull of the moon.
I knew about tides living in Minnesota. It is the land of 10,000 lakes (which is actually 15,000, as any true Minnesota native will quickly correct) so tidal pulls was nothing new to me. It certainly affects lakes, and definitely affects Lake Superior. Yet no matter how superior the lakes may be in my homestate, they pale in comparison to the majesty and power of the ocean. Ocean tides, as I learned when I visited Mont Saint-Michel, the monastery in France known for it’s historically deadly rushing tides that cover acres and acres of clear sand, can be fatal they are so powerful.
So, what does that mean for us as human beings? We are made of 75% salt water, exactly like the earth is, so the pull of the moon must have an affect on us, correct?
Apparently my junior high school teachers weren’t so far off, after all.
I definitely notice as I drive around this crowded city the impact of the full moon on drivers here. Miami drivers have alerted me many times to the phases of the moon and it’s impending fullness. I definitely find myself honking a little more and being a little more defensive when I drive around the full moon. In fact, there have been times when consecutive events have happened on the roads, with other drivers making ridiculous decisions, getting unnecessarily angry, or just not paying attention in general, that has caused me to ask myself, “is the full moon coming up soon?” and spurs action to check Google and, sure enough, every time it’s within a day or two of being full, or is the day of. This, of course, just reminds me to sage my crystals and set them out for charging! So I say a little gratitude to the crazy drivers for reminding me to take care of my spiritual self.
The affects of the full moon on us are real, whether we want to believe in them or not. As a woman, I know that the healthier I am, the more I consistently exercise and eat well, sleep well and meditate regularly, the closer my cycle is to the full moon. The full moon time is a time of clearing out.
The pattern of the full and new moons is something that I am letting in to my life in a really gentle way. Moon energy is traditionally feminine energy, as many ancient cultures had goddesses (like Pele from the Hawaiian tradition, Diana from the Roman tradition, and Isis from the Egyptians) and not gods associated with the moon (the sun is typically male, like the god Apollo from Greek mythology). It’s no wonder that the cycles of the moon are associated with female ones: it’s amazing to me in my experience how interconnected they can be, and it has only happened since I have become healthier and listened to my intuition about my goals and daily actions more and more. It makes me feel healthier, and more in tune with the natural aspects of my physical body and how it is connected to the earth and the universe.
Psychologically, the full moon is the time to give up old patterns. Giving up old ways of being is one of the most powerful things to do on a consistent basis, and to have something as natural and powerful as the moon to remind us to do this clearing once a month is truly a blessing. How is it possible to forget to do this once a month if we are taking the time to turn our faces to the night sky and take in what is going on up there? After all, the moon, according to scientists, was once part of this earth. Since we, too, are part of this earth, we are just as connected to the moon as we are to this planet we inhabit.
My clearing out this month included a lot of journaling. I had pulled the Kali card from my goddess deck from Doreen Virtue (HIGHLY recommend this deck). She is the ultimate nature goddess, the goddess associated with goal setting and getting things done. I found a powerful meditation practice about her online, which ties in perfectly with the full moon. I believe the website I found this on (the exact site escapes me at the moment-if you are interested in it please comment and I will find it for you!) said that this can be done for ten days during the waning moon-the time after the full moon. I did this the first night, on the 21st, just because the practice lines up with the energy happening in the tides and currents of the planet and in our bodies at this time.
I did the following:
- Lit a white candle.
- Set up my Tibetan singing bowl (I did this all in the backyard under the light of the moon by the way)
- Had my red carnelian mala handy: red stones are significant to Kali and represent burning away things that do not serve you.
- Made a list of the things I want to give up: patterns, behaviors, habits, thoughts, physical pains, emotional pains, spiritual pains, beliefs I was holding on to about other people. This list was long for me this time!
- I read my list out loud, one at a time, and each time I read one, I gently tapped my bowl with my mallet.
- When I was complete with my list, I played my bowl for a few minutes to clear the space and solidify my intentions and clearing of these old ways of being.
- I did three breathing exercises: box breathing, alternating nostril breathing, and breath of fire, each for at least 3 rounds.
- I meditated to Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of abundance, whose energy is also present during full moons, during my chanting meditation on my red carnelian mala. I believe Kali has her own meditation, but I could not find a one-worded one-at least not yet. I do know there is a longer one associated with her, feel free to look it up.
- 3 oms to complete the meditation, and then sitting for as long as I needed.
I love using my cards in conjunction with my meditations. All goddesses are associated with a gemstone because of their earth connection, so it adds an extra depth of meaning into my meditations. It also was so apropos for the time of the full moon this month for me to pull an earth goddess card whose practice is associated with giving things up, just like what we are intended to do at the time of the full moon. I do not think things like these are coincidences. All things we need to learn come up at the right time in our lives.
The power of the full moon is that it is definitely a reminder to let go of the habits we have picked up since the last full moon that no longer serve us. It gives us an opportunity to look at what we have been doing in the last month that is helping move us forward, or is working to keep us stuck. It is the clearing that is necessary for the work of the new moon in two week’s time to be effective, when it is time to commit to new things and new projects and new goals.
The great thing about greenmonkey’s community full moon class is that we are all gathered together in commitment to one another and to hold each other up in the space of letting go of the things that do not serve us, a theme that is present in the teachings of all the teachers there, and is a major component of the powerful modular teacher training they have that has changed literally hundreds of people’s lives.
As humans, we can be so quick to take on new things, new ideas, new ways of being, new chores, jobs, responsibilities, and even objects in our homes, that it creates spiritual and literal clutter to the point that it bogs us down. I know that was my pattern for years and years. Clear out in order to fill up. If we keep filling up without clearing out, it is inevitable that we will overfill, and become anxious, tired, frustrated, or annoyed with how our lives are running.
Take the time to give things up within and without yourself. Do it once a month. Like the tides of the ocean coming in to sweep things away and clear out the shores, clear out your inner space to leave room for magical possibility that is waiting patiently to be manifested.