Halloween can be a wonderful time of year to inspire a mystical, magical yoga flow. That’s what I’ll be doing this spooky month of October — crafting a meaningful full moon yoga flow to help my friends and I get into the Halloween spirit. The focus here is on letting go of the need to control people and situations, and surrendering to the natural cycles of the moon’s ethereal phases. It’s about setting intentions to manifest our heart’s desires and release what’s no longer needed for our soul’s growth. It’s also about communing with the spirits of our ancestors; to glean ancient wisdom from those who’ve passed over to the other side.
So, roll out your sticky mats and come together in community to celebrate the Halloween season with this fun and fluid full moon yoga practice!
Black Cat/Sacred Cow
Begin on all fours, in tabletop position. Inhale deeply. On an exhale, embody the spooky shape of a black cat. On an inhale, arch your back and move into sacred cow pose. Alternate back and forth through black cat/sacred cow.
As you sync your breath to the movement, begin to bring into your mind’s eye an intention for your full moon Halloween practice. What are you ready to welcome into your life? What are you ready to release? This full moon is an ideal time to get in touch with your innermost dreams and desires.
(More on linking breath with asana movement in How Conscious Breathing Can Boost Your Yoga Asana Practice.)
Standing Crescent Moon
Stand proud at the front of your mat in all your glorious feminine power. On a deep inhale, raise both arms up and over your head. On a full exhale, side bend to the right. Hold for a few deep breaths, breathing into your side body. Feel into your body as it takes the shape of a crescent moon. Now, side bend to the left and do the same.
As you repeat standing crescent moon on each side, consider what you’re reaching for in your life as you stretch your arms up and over. How would you like to develop your spiritual nature? How do you want to inspire and uplift those around you? Ponder these questions and breathe deeply.
(Pondering more about what you're reaching for, try What Wanting to 'Reach More' Means to a Yogi.)
Standing Forward Bend
Beginning in mountain pose, inhale and raise your arms to the sky and honor the full moon in all her glory. On an exhale, swan dive forward and ease into a standing forward bend. Keep a slight bend in the knees as you stretch your hamstrings and back body.
As you breathe deeply here, you may want to call into your practice an ancestor who has passed. Who in your ancestral line is holding the ancient wisdom and perhaps the answer to a question you’d like to ask? Who do you wish to call into your practice? Is there a spirit you know of who supports you from the heavens? Are you going through a difficult phase in this particular cycle of your own life? Is there a question that needs clarification? As you breathe deeply in standing forward bend, take some time to communicate with this loving spirit — someone who wants only the best for you and your life. What do they want you to know during this October full moon?
Half Moon Pose
From standing forward bend, step to the right as if you were going into triangle pose. Now put all of your weight on the front foot and lift your back leg as you rest the right hand on the floor in front and just to the right of your front foot. Your left arm reaches towards the moon as you balance here.
Also known as ardha chandrasana, half moon pose energizes and strengthens the entire body. It’s the perfect pose to find your center as you work on balancing, lengthening and strengthening every little nook and cranny. Half moon pose requires focus, as does your intention setting and deliberation for this particular moon cycle. So, pay attention to how you cultivate focused awareness as you hold the pose. Feel into your center. You are strong and deliberate. Your one-pointed attention can keep you balanced in the sometimes stormy, spooky energy of life around you this Halloween season.
After you’ve held half moon pose on one side for three to five deep breaths, switch sides and sustain your balance on the other. Again, feel into your body as it takes the shape of the half moon. You are a microcosm of the macrocosm. You have moon dust within. Tap into your own ethereal moon-like nature as you breathe deeply into the pose.
Moon Circle Meditation
With your circle of friends, come together to form a circle — the shape of a full moon. Sit cross-legged, or however you wish. You may want to hold hands as you close your eyes to finish this full moon yoga practice.
Focus on your breath and come back to the intention you brought into your practice during black cat/sacred cow pose. See those desires manifest in your mind’s eye as you continue to breathe. Feel the connection with your friends and the gratitude of these relationships. Offer up good vibes to your fellow yogis as you pay homage to the full moon this month. Life is inherently good. And those spirits on the other side are supporting you and wishing you well!
(Continue reading for Vinyasa Yoga: A Flowing Introduction That'll Have You Falling in Love With Creative Sequences.)