Tha(t's) the way I like it...
Did you get to see the stunning Full Moon this last Wednesday evening? It was luckily a clear night here in Dublin & so the full cool majestic splendour of what was a 'full Flower Moon' was clearly visible.
The 'Flower Moon' is so-called due to this Moon symbolising the flowers that are spreading across the countryside as our weather warms up. The Old Farmer's Almanac notes that
"the May moon marked a time of increasing fertility, with temperatures warm enough for safely bearing young, a near end to late frosts, & plants in bloom,"
In Hatha Yoga, 'Ha'- & 'Tha'- mean 'Sun' and 'Moon'. The guiding theory behind the study of Hatha Yoga is one of balancing these two complementary energies. The power of the bright, strong, daytime Sun - associated with 'Yang' type energy, namely, masculine, powerful, creative, strong & 'hot' - and the very different but still powerful Moon - associated with 'Yin' type energy, namely, feminine, 'cool', calm, quieter, subtle, intuitive - these two forces or energies that affect all life on earth, including our own, balancing these is at the very heart of Ha-Tha Yoga.
This week, why not seek to embody these qualities in your own Yoga practice? Lunar energy encourages us to gently reflect and to learn; to invite a sense of ease and grace into our practice; to become aware of the 'subtle' bodies - going beyond the mere 'physical' shell & to truly engage with our innate body wisdom.
To go within; to slow down, to try & inhabit a pose from the 'inside-out' rather than imposing a shape from the 'outside-in'. Invite a greater awareness of what the current potential is for you; letting go of any sense of striving; trying rather to be comfortable with where you are but in a kind & detached way, and perhaps then being able to notice the further potential within.
Using our breath is one of the best tools we have at our disposal to 'inhabit' an asana rather than struggling to 'hold' it - these are very different approaches to learning and/or practising asana.
Through developing a breath-based approach to our practice, we can tune into when we are pushing & striving too much - which most often affects our breath first, rather than our muscles or joints. We either start to breathe erratically or forcefully or, indeed, unwittingly, hold our breath in, in a classic 'grin & bear it' approach.
Instead, try & use the breath as a 'witness' to your practice; almost like a 'breath buddy' who is internally saying, gently, 'back off, slow down, breath, rest' when we are going beyond our current limits. In this way, we learn what our current capacity is but do not over-exert ourselves - learning this way, we leave room for developing our practice in a compassionate and sustainable way. And we will greatly reduce the potential for pain, injury or even just mental dejection at not being 'good' at Yoga.
Think of the longer, deeper more relaxed breaths we generally have at night; that calmer, cooler, energy - Lunar-type energy if you will - is what can help us to more holistically, slowly guide us in a grounded way throughout our practice and Yoga journey.
Leaving us restored, not depleted and perhaps in a more positive frame-of-mind; one that, who knows, could let us feel full of energy & ready for a stronger, more energy-filled 'Sun-type' practice the next time...
Balance is everything. See what a Lunar-type approach to your practice can do for you. Having a curious mind & an open heart will do wonders for your Yoga - and you...
Enjoy your weekend & see you on your mat soon.