This Silent Sunday falls the day before the Full Moon of April 26. As always, a Full Moon brings heightened energies: Sometimes, the feeling is one of adrenalin and sleeplessness; other times, the Universe seems to throw curve ball after curve ball; and most of the time, our nerves are easily frayed or taunted. According to Susan Miller’s analysis on astrologyzone.com, however, this Full Moon is super-charged with challenge: specifically, with regard to compromise.
When I hear (or read) the word, “compromise,” I infer that a conflict or power struggle is under way. Two or more people or groups fail to agree; or, one may be waging an inner war of indecision. The road forward, then, lies in the art of compromise. Agree to disagree; find a halfway point; give a little to get a little; perhaps brainstorm a brand new option—each possibility moves toward compromise, which in turn shifts the tenor and trajectory of the situation.
When compromise seems unattainable, emotions and perspectives stall: One becomes locked into a viewpoint; grudges and blame begin to form; and the heart goes into defensive mode, with no room for the head to mediate. As one who historically has avoided conflict, this Full Moon once could have triggered anxiety. Now, however, I prefer to take the caution of challenging days ahead as an opportunity to stand firm, while remaining open and fluid.
Thus, when the Full Moon—or any earthly circumstance—delivers daunting or distressing energies (typically, planetary events can be felt plus-or-minus 4 days from their actual occurrence), shore up your inner strength and prepare to learn. As Susan Miller noted, “…[T]ake in what the full moon will reveal…. That full moon will work to give you the information you’ll need to protect yourself… [and] to make sound decisions.”
In honor of April 26’s Full Moon, today’s practice is designed to ground and stabilize, while allowing room to adapt and flow. By rooting, then moving freely, the mind and nerves are reminded that they can accommodate any conditions. And although this Silent Sunday focuses on coping with an exceptionally charged Full Moon, the following practice can be used in anticipation of or response to any situation or period of stress and uncertainty.
First, find two equally weighted objects. You may use gym-style free weights; you also may use cans of soup or vegetables; water bottles; or even yoga sand bags. Choose a heaviness that you can bear, with movement, for 1-3 minutes.
Special note: These props will enhance the grounding effect of today’s moves; upon their release, a feeling of freedom and lightness will abound.
With one weight in each hand, stand tall, feet a natural width apart. Let the arms hang by your sides, and allow the weights to help root your stance. With this downward pull, reach the head, neck, and spine long, as if extending up and out of the standing posture. Tilt the head back slightly, and gaze at a spot on the ceiling: Focus intently, and breathe slowly and deeply here for 1 minute.
Next, widen your stance a bit. Bend the knees softly, and bring the weights up next to the shoulders: Elbows are tucked into the ribs, and the palms face forward. Here, begin a rapid, small bounce through the legs; move vigorously enough that the entire torso feels the reverberation. Continue this nervous system reset for 2 minutes.
Now, straighten up into a standing position again. Still holding the weights, bring the feet as close together as feels comfortable and stable. Bring the arms overhead, and then bend the elbows, lowering the hands behind the head: The backs of the hands or knuckles rest against each other. Inhale through the nose, and rise onto the toes; exhale powerfully through rounded lips as you lower onto the heels and extend the arms up by lengthening through the elbows. Inhale again onto tiptoes as the arms lower; exhale through the mouth to lengthen the arms and root into the feet. Repeat for a total of 26 lifts and lowers. (As always, begin with fewer repetitions, if needed.)
Then, resurrect the squat-bounce with weights static in front of the shoulders. Continue the tiny, quick bounces for 1-3 minutes.
You may now place your props safely to the side of your practice space. From standing, bend the knees a bit, and bring your torso as close to parallel with the floor as possible. (If your back is tender, lean forward only as far as feels right for you.) In this position, let the arms dangle straight down from the shoulders: Do nothing here but breathe fully and steadily through the nose for 1 minute.
Now, in the same semi-forward-bend, begin to swing the arms loosely: Inhale as they swing wide open to the sides; exhale as they criss-cross easily underneath your torso. Move swiftly and freely with these arm swings for 1 minute.
Remain in the posture, if possible; if you feel that you need a break, you may also do the next move in an upright standing position. Regardless, inhale as the left arm swings forward, and the right swings back; exhale to swing the right forward as the left goes back. (If bent to the full 90-degree angle with the torso, the forward arm would extend alongside the head; the rear arm would swing back as if reaching past the hip.) Again, move as quickly and fluidly as possible for 1 minute.
Next, stand up tall. Begin the same rapid bouncing that you did with weights; however, this time, let your body bounce and shake and move in any direction, at any level. Let the arms move as they want; engage the full body into the fast-paced vibrating for 1 minute.
Finally, again from standing, inhale through the nose to lengthen the arms straight overhead as you rise onto the toes. Make tight fists as you rise onto the toes and suspend the breath for as long as possible. When you need to exhale, release the fists as you drop the arms; drop firmly into the heels; and exhale with “bellow breath”—strong and short through an open mouth. Repeat 2 more times.
Now, make your way to the floor for Cat/Cow spinal flexes. As much as this is a traditional spinal warm-up, it also serves here as a grounded-yet-moving asana: Use the movement to further remind the body, mind, and nerves that they can feel rooted while in motion. Continue this move for 1 minute.
From all fours, shift back into Baby Pose. Reach the hands around to hold the feet, fingers firm against the soles. Keep the head on the floor (you may roll forward toward the crown) as you round the spine. The knees and feet and head remain grounded; the hips and spine try to lift up and away into Rabbit Pose. Breathe and move as deeply into the posture as possible for about 10 full breaths.
Then, slowly release into Baby Pose, where you will take a few natural-rhythm breaths. When you are ready, help yourself into Svasana to consolidate and integrate the steadying and grounding quantities of your practice.