Winter,  yin yoga

How to sleep better with the full moon

There are a few flowers beginning to peek their heads open in the weak sunlight, and there is a sense of spring on the cusp of the horizon. While we’re a few weeks away from the official start of spring, the feeling of rising yang energy can’t be denied, especially with the arrival of the full moon tomorrow.

I’ve wrote a couple of blog posts about the new moon, how our energy levels can be lower and this is a great time to set intentions. Well, the full moon is quite the opposite. Our energy levels are reaching a peak and emotions can also run high at this time of the lunar cycle. According to anecdotal accounts, the full moon also sees an increase in visits to A & E, and we are more likely to experience disturbed sleep.

The energy of the full moon is often compared (in yogic terms) with the end of the inhale, that pause just before the exhale begins. This prana or rising energy coupled with the prospect of the arrival of spring may be a recipe for feeling a little bit off over the coming days. So, what can you do to help balance out the effects of the rising energy of the full moon?

  1. Sleep with an eye mask. It has been suggested that sleep can be impaired at this point in the lunar cycle with some studies indicating it can take 5-minutes longer to fall asleep at the full moon. Using an eye mask to help block out the light is a method of encouraging the body and mind to enter sleep mode. We need darkness to fall to begin to trigger sleepiness and to encourage us to have a more restful sleep. Don’t have an eye mask, try a small hand towel or face cloth.
  2. Get on your mat. While Ashtangis will enjoy a day off from their regular practice, there is still plenty of yogic options to satiate the most die-hard practitioner. Try some yin or restorative yoga which will help to balance out the high energy of the full moon with a slower and more meditative practice. Check out this 10-minute Yin Yoga for Clarity video to help you make the most of the full moon. Or if you’d like a longer practice use the images below to help you get started.
  3. Chandra Bhedana – left nostril breathing. In yogic terms the left side of the body corresponds with the Ida Nadi which is associated with the lunar qualities of intuition, rest, and calm. Breathing in and out through the left nostril may support a balance between the yin and yang sides of our nature, helping us to feel more even and peaceful.
  4. Legs up the wall. This is always my go-to pose when I need to switch off and get more rest. As a gentle and supportive inversion, legs up the wall offers many benefits and is worth a try.

For a longer practice begin with Chandra Bhedana, left nostril breath, for a few minutes. This will help to centre your attention and provide focus for your practice. Move into Child’s pose using a prop under the forehead and remain here focusing on the breath for up to 5-minutes.

From child’s pose move to half frog, adjusting any props before coming to rest here again for up to 5-minutes. Before moving to the closed twist, rest in a face down savasana pose for a 2-minute rebound. This, again will give you a chance to focus on your intention for the class to bring some clarity to your practice through the light of the full moon.

Move into the closed twist, positioning any props you are using before settling in for up to 6-minutes. At the end of this time please come to a suitable rebound pose for up to 2-minutes before moving to the other side.

At the end of the practice lay in savasana for up to 10-minutes, allowing yourself to completely relax. These timings are only suggested, please feel free to adapt the times to suit your own body and experience. It may be helpful to watch the short video first to familiarise yourself with the poses before adapting the practice to suit your own needs.

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