Every month, the Full Moon caps off a steady rise of energy. The surge is felt most keenly 3-5 days prior to the peak; during the hours of complete fullness, the gravitational pull of the moon causes each of our 10 energy bodies—from the physical to the most subtle—to vibrate with the highly stimulated currents.
While some of us may feel the rush as a form of adrenalized excitement or motivation, others may find that sleep is disturbed, anger rises more quickly, and focus is derailed. Typically, there will be a mix of positive effects and uncomfortable reverberations. Today’s Silent Sunday falls one day before the Full Moon: Thus, I offer a pranayama sequence designed to honor your energetic levels as they are in the moment; then, the technique imbues the coursing waves of energy with a slowing and softness that tempers the Full Moon effect.
As I often suggest, begin your practice with some movement that reflects your current state of physical and mental energy. For example, you may want to lightly jog or double-hop from side to side if you feel revved up; or perhaps you need to shake and vocalize to release pent-up nervous energy. Once you have achieved a sense of grounded release, practice a few spinal flexion exercises (e..g, Cat/Cow or Sufi grinds) in a seated position.
With your body prepared to sit, enter your preferred seated pose for breath work and meditation. Then, bring your arms straight up from the shoulders, palms facing each other. Separate the arms away from each other, opening them about 30 degrees to either side: The arms will be in a V-shape, palms still facing each other. In this position, begin Breath of Fire. Remember, you may need to start by panting like a dog (breathing in and out through the mouth); then, once you have established a steady, rapid breath of equal inhale and exhale, close the mouth and continue through the nose. Practice Breath of Fire for 3 minutes.
Your energy is now at its highest, mimicking the rise and peak of the Moon force. To begin aiding a move toward a more refined and neutral vibration, lower your arms. Interlace the fingers and allow the thumb tips to touch. Place this variation of Venus Lock a few inches in front of your neck, at the Throat (or Fifth) Chakra; bend the elbows out to the sides at the same height. With the fingers still linked and thumb tips touching, spread the mudra open, so that the palms face down.
In the above position, begin to breathe deeply, in and out of the nose. Continue for a minute or so, ensuring that each inhale and each exhale reaches completion. Then, in order to regain what may have become scattered focus during the days of increasing energy, gaze downward as if to look at your chin. Be aware that you do not tip the head down; only the eyes gaze downward, through slightly open lids. Now, attach a count to your deep, full breaths: Inhale for 6, exhale for 8, with no retention or suspension. Continue for 3 minutes.
Finally, place both hands on the knees, palms down. With eyes closed and gazing at the Third Eye, begin Sitali breath: Inhale through your curled tongue (like a straw), and exhale deeply through the nose. Allow the exhale to extend naturally; ideally, the exhale will be a couple of seconds longer than the inhale. (If you can not curl the tongue, slightly part the lips, and breathe in through that slight aperture; maintain the exhale through the nose.) Continue for 3 minutes.
To close your practice, take a slightly inverted version of Svasana. On your back, place your buttocks as close to the edge of a couch or chair as possible. Bend the legs, and place your lower legs on the seat. Allow your arms to rest on the floor, about 45 degrees from the body. Close your eyes, and let the breath come into a quieted, easy flow. Rest here for 5-11 minutes.