Updated: 2 days ago
Looking for a yoga practice for the New Moon?
The New Moon offers a fresh start, which is a great time to think about setting your intentions and wishes for the month ahead. It’s like planting a seed with sincerity and positive intentions, making sure the choices you make help to support its growth.
This yoga sequence is ideal for practising on a New Moon. It embodies the energy for new opportunities, while using the breath to help you purify from the inside. If it’s part of your practice, you may enjoy using the ujjayi breath during this sequence. Don’t worry if this is new to you - we explain how to explore the ujjayi breath below.
Remember this is just a guide - if anything feels uncomfortable or painful please come out of the pose. Contraindications for each pose are listed below, but if you have any concerns, please talk to a health professional before starting a new exercise regime.
How to do a New Moon yoga practice
Regardless of which yoga you practice, it’s good to start with a Kaya Stairyham - a moment to turn inwards. This moment of observation helps you to connect to your body, observe your mind and deepen the connection to your breath.
This inward awareness and sensitivity can help to provide clarity on what you want to attract, while helping to stimulate new ideas - perfect for the New Moon. Practising this sequence with your eyes closed can help to keep the energy inside.
Focus on the breath with ujjayi
The ujjayi breath helps to make our breath more audible, giving our mind a point of focus for our practice. The soft, rhythmical sound of ujjayi may help us to find calm and relaxation, soothing the nervous system.
Sit in any comfortable meditation posture, closing your eyes and relaxing your body.
Bring your awareness to your breath. Allow the breathing to become calm and rhythmic and begin to notice the air moving in and out of your nostrils.
Bring this awareness and focus on the movement of your breath in your throat. When your breath has become slow and deep, begin to connect with ujjayi, listening to the soft snoring sound it produces.
If you’re new to ujjayi, you may find it beneficial to practice with the mouth open initially. As you exhale, imagine you’re fogging up a pane of glass or mirror. Notice the slight constriction in the back of your throat. Practice this several times and, when you feel comfortable, do the same with your mouth closed. As you become more at ease with this practice, maintain the constriction in the back of your throat for both your inhale and exhale.
Notice your belly inflate as you inhale. Draw your belly button to your spine on your exhale.
Your inhalations and exhalations may become long, deep and more controlled.
Marjariasana (cat stretch pose)
Cat stretch helps to improve the flexibility of your neck, shoulders and spine. The movement of your spine stimulates the energy of the breath to go upwards and downwards. As you practice, become aware of the space in between the perineum and your forehead and the back of your head and the tailbone.
Come onto your hands and knees on the mat. Bring the wrists in line with your shoulders and your knees in line with your hip joints. Engage the core and keep your back flat. Have your hands flat on the floor, with your fingers spread.
Your arms and thighs stay straight throughout the whole practice, but avoid locking the elbows.
Inhale while raising the head and dropping your belly towards the mat, depressing the spine to make a hollow back. With your eyes closed, look at the eyebrow centre, Brumadhya.
Pause after the inhale for about three seconds, feeling your belly expand and your lungs full with air. Notice how the space of your heart opens and feel the stretch of your throat.
Exhale while lowering the head, bringing your chin to your chest, rounding the spine. Keeping the eyes closed, look at the point of your nose.
At the end of your exhale, retain the breath for about three seconds. Contract the abdomen, focusing on your navel, and the space of your spine.
Repeat and using ujjayi, imagine the breath going through the spaces of your belly, heart, and throat, up to Brumadhya. On an exhalation, follow the reverse order down.
Practice 10 rounds
Caution for pregnant women to avoid forceful contraction of the abdomen.
If you have a wrist injury, you may prefer to practice this movement of the spine sitting upright in a cross-legged position or chair.
Simhagarjanasana (roaring lion pose)
Liberate yourself to roar deeply as a lion! This pose helps to release tension in your jaw, chest and diaphragm. It’s also great for relieving frustrations and emotional stress.
From Marjariasana, lower your bottom onto your heels to sit in Vajrasana – your knees are close together, letting your big toes touch and separating the heels. Place your hands on your knees, palms down.
Keeping the toes touching, separate your knees almost as wide as your mat (about 45cm). Lean forward and place your hands on the floor between your knees, with the fingers pointing towards your body.
Close your eyes and mouth and gaze at your eyebrow centre.
Inhale slowly and deeply through your nose. At the end of your inhalation, open your eyes and mouth and extend the tongue out as far as possible, towards the chin. At the same time, make a clear and steady ‘aaah’ sound on exhalation, bringing your gaze to the top of your nose.
Close your mouth to inhale and continue with the next round, repeating five to 10 times.
Caution for pregnant women to avoid forceful contraction of the abdomen.
Take a moment to release any tension and negativity with this cleansing breath practice.
In Vajrasana, bring your hands on top of each other, palms facing up and in front of your pubic bone.
On an inhalation, bring your hands up above your head. Imagine you’re taking up everything that is negative and disturbing inside.
Above your head, turn your palms down and exhale through your mouth, producing a ‘ggghhh’ sound. Bring your arms down at the same time, releasing any negativity and tension.
Feel the strength in your arms as you bring them up and down.
Keep your eyes closed throughout, focusing at the eyebrow centre. This pose may stimulate a lot of oxygen to your head, so be careful if you notice any dizziness.
Ardha ustrasana (half-camel pose)
This posture encourages confidence and courage, which is useful for setting your intentions and wishes at the beginning of a New Moon phase.
Notice the courage and confidence required as you lean backwards in this pose. If you touch your heels, be aware of your emotions as you move into the pose. It can help you to face any limitations or resistances. Take the opportunity to learn from them, to remove obstacles and to discover.
Start in in Vajrasana then come onto your knees with your arms alongside your body. Have your knees and feet together or apart, depending on which is more comfortable.
On an inhale, stretch your arms out to the sides horizontally. Retain the breath as you move your left arm forwards and your right backwards. Your left arm goes up about 30°. Keep your gaze over your left hand, or option to look towards your right foot. Your right hand goes down towards your right heel as you exhale. Hold the pose for three breaths.
On an inhalation, bring your body back to centre, with your arms stretching out to the sides. Exhale to lower the hands to the sides.
Repeat on the opposite side.
After this pose, move into Shashankasana (Balasana, or pose of the moon or child's pose), bringing your bottom onto your heels, forehead on the ground and arms in front of you, palms on the ground.
People with back pain or injuries should not practice this asana.
Bandha Hasta Uttanasana (Locked hand-raising pose)
Setting intentions and wishes during the New Moon asks for a clear head. Stimulate fresh oxygen into your body as you practice the locked hand-raising pose. Synchronise your breath with the movements to improve your breathing capacity. Notice how this pose may help to release tension or stiffness from the shoulders and upper back.
Stand upright with your feet together, balancing your bodyweight equally on both feet. Keep your arms relaxed, down by your sides.
Cross the wrists in front of your pubic bone, placing the right wrist on top of the left. Keep your arms straight throughout.
On an inhale, raise your arms vertically above your head, keeping the wrists crossed. At the same time, bend your head slightly backward to look up at the hands. Engage through the core to protect your lower back.
On an exhale, open your arms sideways at shoulder level, palms facing up. Maintain the strength and length in your arms.
On an inhale, reverse the movement, re-crossing your wrists above your head, placing the opposite hand on top.
As you exhale, lower the arms, down, back to your starting position.
Practice with your eyes closed, your gaze at Brumadya.
Kapalbhati can also be a fantastic pranayama to practice after this flow. Find out more about Kapalbhati here.
About Chaja van Boesschoten
Chaja is a Hatha yoga teacher, international project manager and started recently as a digital writer. She has become so captivated by the knowledge of yoga science and the immense possibilities of the breath, that her life has become devoted to yoga. Chaja was born in The Netherlands, she is married to a Scottish man and has two sons who were born in two different countries. She now lives in Italy and finds it beautiful to use the knowledge of different languages and experiences to transmit yoga. Yoga is available to everyone, but she sees the importance to bring it to people who are possibly unaware of it, to people who live in socially vulnerable situations, to people suffering mentally (as a consequence of the pandemic e.g.) and to influencers.
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