September’s full moon and 2016’s last eclipse can be seen Friday, September 16. The time during a full moon is said to be a time to release that which no longer serves us, inviting us to expand our minds and bodies. It’s also said to symbolize fulfillment, wholeness, and closure; the full moon brings light among darkness, allowing eye-opening discoveries to surface from within.
The Harvest Moon, which is heavily aligned with the fall equinox, is supposed to encourage us to reap what we’ve sown for the year. It allows us to reflect on even the smallest of changes we’ve experienced this year and reminds us that how we close the year is completely up to us.
To help you make the most of the Harvest Moon this year, we found a cleanse and release full moon yoga practice, sequenced by Zuzu Perkal, an artist and yoga teacher based in Texas:
Begin with a Short Meditation
In easy seated pose, gently close your eyes and breathe with intention for 1-2 minutes. Lengthen your spine and ground down through the sitting bones. Rest your palms lightly on your thighs or knees for grounding energy and encourage full body breaths.
Followed by Breath Work
Bringing your hands to rest on your knees or thighs with Gyan Mudra, repeat this affirmation as you breathe deeply: “I breathe in the positive and I exhale the negative.” Do this for a few minutes before setting an intention for your practice and coming to standing to begin.
And Yoga Flow!
Zuzu recommends keeping this affirmation in mind as you flow through your full moon practice: “I move fluidly with no expectations. I am perfect exactly as I am.”
- Begin in Mountain Pose (Tadasana), standing tall with feet hips-width distance apart. Take a few slow, deep breaths here.
- Inhale the arms out and up for Upward Half Moon Bend. Keep your palms together, exhale, and reach to the right. Inhale back up and repeat on the left.
- Straighten and fold forward for Forward Fold (Uttanasana), keeping a slight bend in the knees.
- Inhale and lift up half-way for Half Lift (Ardha Uttanasana), making sure to keep a flat back.
- Exhale and plant your palms on the mat and step back for Plank Pose (Kumbhakasana).
- Continue to exhale and lower to Chaturanga Dandasana.
- Inhale up for Upward Facing Dog or a Baby Cobra and exhale back to Downward Facing Dog.
- Hold your down dog for a few breaths as you find grounding energy in your palms. Lengthen your arms and spine as your heels press down towards the mat.
- Inhale and lift the right leg; exhale and bring your right foot through and place it between your hands for Low Lunge (Anjaneyasana). Once your feet are rooted to the mat, lift your chest and arms, lengthening up toward the moon.
- Exhale palms to mat and return to Downward Facing Dog.
- Inhale the right leg up again and exhale to plant it between your hands. Inhale to lift the chest to Warrior One (Virabhadrasana I). Hold for three breaths.
- Inhale and exhale from Warrior One to Warrior Two (Virabhadrasana II), making sure your front heel is in line with the arch of your back foot. Hold for three breaths.
- Turn up your palms in and inhale back into Peaceful Warrior (Shanti Virabhadrasana) for three breaths. Inhale back up to return to Warrior Two for three more breaths.
- From Warrior Two, take a breath, straighten both legs, and turn your front foot in so both feet are parallel for Star Pose (Utthita Tadasana). Lift your arms and breath for three rounds.
- On your last exhale, turn your toes out slightly and bend the knees wide for Goddess Pose (Utkata Konasana). Make sure your spine stays lengthened as you hold this pose for three breaths.
- Inhale back to Star Pose before exhaling back to Warrior Two.
- Windmill the arms down to the mat and find your way to Child’s Pose (Balasana). Take 5-10 cleansing breaths here before coming back up to Table Pose and exhaling back into Downward Facing Dog.
- Repeat 9-17 on the other side.
As you wind down your practice, Zuzu suggests this affirmation: “Energy flows freely through and around me. All is good.”
- Come to your back from Child’s Pose for Reclining Bound Angle Pose (Supta Baddha Konasana). Bring the soles of your feet together to touch and let your knees fall out wide. Rest here with palms face up for 1-2 minutes. Use blocks or blankets under your knees for added support.
- Inhale the knees together and gently lower them to one side, keeping your spine in line for Supine Twist (Supta Matsyendrasana). Hold for a minute or two, inhale the knees to center, and repeat on the other side.
- Inhale the knees to center before extending the legs out for Savasana (Corpse Pose). Keep your palms face up to absorb the moon’s energy and allow your entire body to relax and your breathing to return to normal. Calm the mind and relax; stay here for 1-5 minutes, as long as you feel your practice needs.
As you come out of Savasana, begin by making small movements before rolling to your right side. Slowly come up to seated, and use this affirmation to seal your practice: “I bow to mother moon above and father Earth below. I acknowledge the infinite power above, below, and within.”