PRACTICE ACCORDING TO THE PHASES OF THE MOON

PRACTICE ACCORDING TO THE PHASES OF THE MOON

   

In Iyengar yoga, it is customary to build the practice according to the type of poses performed during the calendar month as follows: the first week of the month – standing poses, the second – forward bends, the third – backbends and the fourth – restorative poses. The “tail” of 2-3 days is left to the discretion of the teacher / practitioner. As teachers usually explain, this is done so that there are no “distortions” in the practice, when a practitioner is fond of one type of posture that he likes more and ignores postures that are difficult or simply “do not like”.

Even as soon as I started to study, this classification seemed to me somewhat strange, it seems to be a good idea, but something here seems to be wrong. Paying attention to the fact that the lunar month is approximately equal to 28 earth days, I did not leave an intuitive feeling that it makes sense to build practice in accordance with the lunar calendar, there is some connection with the natural cycle, although at that time I was still very far from “all these esoteric things” in principle and was skeptical about astrology. My teacher Tatyana Yurizditskaya advised me to write a letter with a question to our guruji B.K.S. Iyengar, she said that he answered everyone’s letters, but I was ashamed to bother him with my nonsense question, and after 3 or 4 years the guruji was gone …

As I began to read something about the Moon and its influence on natural processes on Earth, my confidence in my assumption grew stronger. I sometimes asked senior teachers about this, and some told me that, in fact, from the point of view of harmonizing practice with nature, it is necessary to build it exactly in accordance with the lunar month, that in India, as well as in the East in general, many social processes are tied precisely to the lunar calendar, but in the West, this is not accepted, it is alien to people, they will be confused and so on, and therefore it was customary to use the calendar month. That, you see, it only retains some form, depriving it of its content …

At that time, I had the following understanding: at the beginning of the lunar month, when the moon is just beginning to give its energy, do standing poses, actively, building up its energy potential; in the second week of the lunar month, when the moon already gives a sufficient amount of energy, to lean forward (which, as you know, have a calming effect), in the third week the moon continues to give a lot of energy, but this tendency is already waning, and therefore it is good to do backbends, which have a tonic effect, in order to preserve the energy accumulated for all the previous time, and, finally, the last lunar quarter – when the moon gives little energy and with a tendency to constantly decrease it, it is good to do calm restorative poses and / or inverted poses.

 

Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga Schools in India do not have classes on New Moon and Full Moon. Not at all. Moon day – no lessons. The explanation for this is this: on the new moon the moon does not give us energy, people are generally weakened and therefore you should not force the body, exhaust yourself with practice (a 2-hour sequence of vinyasas, frankly, not for weaklings in general), but on a full moon there is too much energy, people become less attentive, and therefore the risk of injury or simply nervous overexcitation, “pumping” the body with energy, increases.

When I was studying at the Ashtanga Vinyasa school in Rishikesh, I noticed that the last poses in the sequence are Sarvangasana and Shirshasana. In that order. In Iyengar yoga, it is customary on the contrary, Shirshasana is performed anywhere in the practice, but before Sarvangasana, and Sarvangasana, as a rule, is done at the very end. What is especially interesting, both Iyengar and Sri Pattabhi Jois (now their schools, or styles, are the most widespread in the world), began their paths with one outstanding yogi of the early twentieth century – Sri Krishnamacharya. So, returning to the sequence in which all types of poses are dynamically performed, but each pose does not hold for long – first standing poses, then forward bends and twisting, then backbends, then Sarvangasana and Shirshasana, I noticed that this carries out a sequential study and activation of the body from bottom to top, from feet to crown. In other words, we consistently activate the notorious “chakras” (which are still a mystery to me, I confess honestly and do not speculate with these concepts) during each lesson. And in Iyengar yoga, if we look at this aspect, the cycle of “activation of the chakras” is extended for a month. And if we perform it in accordance with the lunar month, then this, apparently, makes sense, since it correlates with natural processes, and makes less sense if we perform it in accordance with the “social” calendar.

In practice, when building a practice program, you need to take into account other aspects, and in some situations they will be key. For example, if a practitioner performs a therapeutic program to cure a disease, then he will always do almost the same thing. If you practice asanas 1-2 times a week, you can do standing poses for the 1st week, bends for the 2nd, etc., but for practitioners every day this is no longer suitable. I personally cannot do standing poses or backbends for 3-4 days in a row – just if you do them well one day (and if you do it, why do it at all?), Then then the muscles / ligaments hurt, and it is impossible to give the same load for several days in a row , you need to give these parts of the body a rest and work on others. But the truth is, experienced practitioners have tons of subtle aspects of the practice to work on, so there is always “something to do.”

As for women of childbearing period, they generally need to build their practice in accordance with their menstrual cycle, which ideally, if the body lives in harmony with nature, coincides with the lunar month. In India, for example, a woman during menstruation should sit at home, rest, she should not even cook food, in some orthodox families this is still prohibited today! But there are big families, so there will always be a “substitution”. For the Western mentality, this seems wild. But this is another illustration of how modern Western man lives in disharmony with nature, not TOGETHER with her, not in HARMONY with her, but in constant confrontation with her, coffin both himself and nature with his unreasonable behavior, and then trying to heal. Several centuries ago, Western civilization developed and people began to consider themselves “masters of nature.” “We conquered nature”… This is the same as “conquering” our parents, that cutting down our roots… We are not masters on this planet (why did we decide that at all?), But guests.

Let’s look to the future without losing our roots and look for opportunities to harmonize our relationship with the environment as much as possible!

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