Full Moon Rituals

by | Jan 17, 2022 | Nurturing Your Practice

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Full Moon Blog – January 17th, 2022

Today is the first full moon of 2022; a full moon occurs when the moon is exactly on the opposite side of the earth as the sun. This cycle’s full moon happens to be known as the Wolf Moon because this is the time of year that wolves are most active, thriving in the colder and sometimes snowy conditions and howling at the moon. Interestingly enough, this will also be the smallest full moon of the year as it will be at a high angle in the sky. So, what does this mean for us?

The phases of the moon are like the ebb and flow of the ocean. Her energy is so strong that she pushes and pulls the tides. There can be a lot of power, a lot of charge during a full moon. One might feel the urge to reflect on one’s path or to set an intention to shift one’s energy. The urge to reflect might be a sign of heightened levels of intuition during this time. Its relation with water ties the moon to the ideas of creation, of life, of prana. Some think that we can harness the potential of this energetic peak for a fresh start, so choose their intention for the next phases of the moon with mindfulness.

Seeing as the human bodies are largely made up of water – if the moon is strong enough to pull the tides, who’s to say she doesn’t influence us as humans in that way? It’s an interesting thought that might explain the ways that we feel pulled or drawn to certain activities or ways of thinking during the different phases of the moon. 

This particular full moon also comes at a time of Venus and Mercury in retrograde. Mercury in retrograde, though an optical illusion that makes it seem as though it is receding back into the universe, is said to have powerful effects on us all. Mercury doesn’t actually move; the positioning of the earth makes it seems as though it is receding back into the inky blackness. The Farmer’s Almanac claims that this is a time typically filled with confusion, delay, and frustration. We know that Mercury is the planet of communication so one might lean into the pause and tend towards patience and understanding, knowing that the ruler of communication is energetically further away from the earth. The idea of retrograde is spiritually interpreted as an invitation to reassess, reorganize, and review – taking a step back rather than acting on the intensity of the full moon and the possible feelings of being scattered due to Mercury.  This year, My Vinyasa Practice decided to create a series of FREE virtual retreats to help practitioners navigate the energy of Mercury in retrograde. The first free virtual retreat of 2022 focuses on going inward and slowing down.

With all of the energetic shifts that happen around us, we can always lean back on our pranayama and asana practice for balance. With these high levels of energy, one might lean on a more langhana practice, emphasizing the exhales and release. That could be a vinyasa practice leading with the exhale, a restorative practice to encourage a journey inward, or maybe even a yin practice to help one notice where their mind goes in times of high intensity sensation. If one is feeling the overwhelming effects of this energetic peak, they might practice Nadi Shodhana or alternate nostril breathing. This technique can have a calming and grounding effect that can also help one prepare for bedtime. If one is feeling an opposite reaction, a more tamasic and sluggish response to the overwhelm of stimulus, they might practice the pranayama technique of Kapalabhati. As always, when practicing pranayama techniques, practice with caution – any feelings of lightheadedness or nausea should be signs to stop the practice and return to a normal breathing pattern to evaluate how you feel.

If you’d like to learn how to set up an alter or even create your own rituals, check out My Vinyasa Practice’s Ritual Guide Training

The sunset embers smolder low,

The Moon climbs o’er the hill, 

The peaks have caught the alpenglow,

The robin’s song is still.

–John L. Stoddard (1850–1931)

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