Sometimes my Yoga practice leaves me feeling not unlike the energizer bunny. I wake up at 5 am every day, head down to my studio, Namaste Pacific Yoga in San Diego, roll out my mat and begin my yoga practice. A few hours later, I roll up my Yoga mat and head off to labor lovingly at my other job, ScheduleBliss.com where I provide software to awesome Yoga teachers from around the world to manage their studios. I do this every day for 6 days and then I take one day of rest – A twenty four hour respite of sorts from the rigors of Yoga asana practice, before I prepare to do it all over again for the next 6 days.
But, twice a month on the days of the full moon and new moon, something of unspeakable wonderfulness happens: The Ashtanga Yoga Moon Days. An additional two bonus rest days per month, that sometimes feel like a personal “Thank you for practicing Ashtanga Yoga!” gift from Guru Pattabhi Jois himself.
I love these rest days because they fall on random days (depending on which days the full and new moons fall that particular month). It makes my practice feel more organic, it breaks up the machine-like nature of my regular 6 days on / 1 day off yoga practice ritual. As hokey as it may sound, it really helps me feel like I’m a part of something bigger than just myself, a part of planet Earth with its cycles and seasons. It gives me pause to surrender my Yoga practice to a higher power, the unseen incredible force that animates the world and everything around me.
Now you might be wondering, just how do I spend these two auspicious days of rest every month? Well, I invest these hours both wisely and partially wisely, depending on how saintly or mis-behaved I feel on any given particular moon day.
And, to that end, it thrills me to present to you these exciting ideas and activities to explore on your Ashtanga Yoga Moon Day – off:
- Get more than 5 hours sleep a night – You’ve earned it, set your alarm later and enjoy a few extra hours of sleep (unless you’re like me and so used to getting up early that… ding! Come 5 am alarm or no alarm, you’re bright eyed and bushy tailed unable to sleep anymore)
- Finally do that Pranayama practice you’ve been thinking about doing all week
- Do your bank reconciliation and tax returns: Yogis might be unaffected by the laws of gravity, but the IRS is a stronger power
- Cook / prepare all your own meals for the day – A good habit to get into and Moon Days are great time to start
- Broadening your cultural horizons! This may mean organizing a water balloon fight or attending an opera, depending on which way your own personal pendulum swings. Personal growth has always been a pet passion of mine and Moon Days are a good day to devote time to it
- Take 24 hours to stop obsessing over Kapotasana and ever more elaborate Yoga handstands and arm-balances. The sun is still shining and the people in your life still love you and need your love. That is what is truly important