Howling at the moon in the modern age

Nothing makes me feel more new-agey than my intense love of the moon cycle. I make a point to look at the moon every night, and I plan my activities to some degree around the cycle of the moon. I know what you're thinking, extended family, scientists I went to high school and college with, those of you who know me as a nitpicky book editor: weirdo. But I don't just moon-gaze to be the weirdest one at the Thanksgiving table (achieved that years ago, thank you very much, and the moon had almost nothing to do with it). I give you three reasons why I love knowing it's a full moon tonight.

1. It gives me perspective. Nothing like staring up at the night sky to remember that the world does not revolve around me (what?!). I'm on a giant ball of earth and water that is slowly rotating. It's been doing this daily and yearly rotation for about 4.5 billion years. Around that spins this huge rock with giant craters. These craters have existed for about 2 billion years and were mostly created by HUGE impacts. Many of the estimated 108 billion people who have lived on Earth over the course of its history have gazed up at this same moon. They also had hopes, dreams, worries, annoyances, fears, great loves. Now, what was that tiny insignificant matter I was stuck on? Don't remember.

2. It helps me check in with the natural world. I love my home, but sometimes I feel a bit like I'm in a filing cabinet, along with all the others who are neatly filed away in urban buildings. Let's face it, our modern urban life leaves not as much time for communing with nature. (It is my theory this is one reason our beloved pets are so important...but that's another post.) Looking at the moon helps me to remember that I'm an animal living in nature, no matter how many structures are erected in my environment. I'm a part of the cyclical ebb and flow of the natural world, just like the squirrel in the tree or the fish in the sea. I'm just more likely to need reminders in my giant concrete palace with my eyes glued to a glowing screen.

3. It reminds me to draw inward and value the intuition that emerges. There is a lot of focus on doing in our world. Even as a yoga teacher, the sheer volume of articles, information, images, and so forth are enough to make the mind scatter in a million directions. The full moon reminds us to slow down. Savor. Allow. Simplify. Rest. Intuit. In yoga, these qualities are associated with the left energy channel, ida. In a balanced body, this feminine energy is balanced with the more masculine pingala, or sun energy on the right side. We need both. However, in modern society we are often encouraged to cultivate pingala. So the full moon is a time to remember that we are not just walking talking brains. We are bodies and energy, too. That part of us needs care, too. The intuition that emerges from this deep nurturing and care can be truly remarkable. It doesn't come from the same part of your brain that learned calculus, though. So I believe we need to tap into it differently: moving body and breath together is a very good start.

Tonight, I'm lucky enough to teach a yoga practice as the full moon rises. We'll focus on drawing inward and restoring. Expect moon salutes, hip openers, balancing nadi shodana, and guided visualization. Slow down before the week begins. Set a powerful intention and flow with the intuition of your body. See you tonight, Moksha Riverwest, 6pm, live music included.