This is the best news. First Moon Day of 2014 is…

January 1st.

Just went looking at the Ashtanga Yoga Center’s Moon Day page (to which we link from our Ashtanga Information page).

How awesome is that?

Of course, if you’re like us and tend to do a Mala — 108 Sun Salutes — to kick off the new year, then this might be bad news. The Mala becomes an additional practice, rather than a rule-breaky replacement.

But at least you can do it whenever you want during the day. No getting up early.

So prep for a big New Year’s Eve.

Posted by Steve

A poem for a Moon Day

This one is a bit strange, and dark, with a hint of beauty. I can image the critics trying to decipher what it means about Mary Shelley.

The Waning Moon

Percy Bysshe Shelley

And like a dying lady, lean and pale,
Who totters forth, wrapped in a gauzy veil,
Out of her chamber, led by the insane
And feeble wanderings of her fading brain,
The moon arose up in the murky east,
A white and shapeless mass.

Posted by Steve

Pink moon gonna get you … some rest

Just a quick reminder that if you are keeping to your six-day-a-week Ashtanga practice (and you are, of course), today’s a day off for a Moon Day.

In fact, it’s the Full Pink Moon day, according to the Farmers’ Almanac:

• Full Pink Moon – April This name came from the herb moss pink, or wild ground phlox, which is one of the earliest widespread flowers of the spring. Other names for this month’s celestial body include the Full Sprouting Grass Moon, the Egg Moon, and among coastal tribes the Full Fish Moon, because this was the time that the shad swam upstream to spawn.

Even better, for those of you in the Eastern Hemisphere, you might get a real little bit of a pink moon. There is a teeny, tiny lunar eclipse that’s going to happen (like 1.5% coverage), and it could — if all goes right — give the moon a pinkish hue.

But it may not. You know how inconstant that moon is!

This is anything but inconstant, though:

Posted by Steve

The dark side of the Moon Days

Even as you’re reading this (if it is still Tuesday evening Los Angeles time), Bobbie and I are living it up.

Well, living it up as much as Ashtangis do on the night before a Moon Day. A Moon Day that falls in the middle of the work week. On a morning when one of the Ashtangis has to be out the door for a meeting by about 7:30 a.m.

Give me a second to grumble quietly to myself.

Thanks.

Nevertheless, we will try to stay up later (not as late as I’d hope), and the dinner negotiations via email have been lively. (They’re now over; Bobbie’s at the shala.) We’ve got to add a little something special to the evening.

That’s just how it’s done, right? The night before a Moon Day is at least as luxurious as the Moon Day itself.

One of those days

For those perhaps still a bit new to the Ashtanga practice (and I’ve had a few email / Facebook / Twitter interactions during the past week with folks who are on the early side of things), one of the strange ramifications of Ashtanga is your becoming acutely attuned to the moon’s cycle. For me, frankly, it has manifested itself in my seeing the moon more often; I guess I just know when to look up during a mid-morning or early evening to see the waxing and waning sliver of our solar neighbor.

The moon’s progress gets ingrained.

The not-so-strange ramification is how pleased you’ll be when the new and full moon arrive.

It provides a chance to sleep in; it provides a chance to stay out a little late; it’s a bit of a recharge moment. (Side thought: Is there a best day of the week for a Moon Day? Friday, so there’s two days off in a row and because you can justify going out on a Thursday night?)

There’s nothing bad about a Moon Day.

Right?

Not so fast. Sadly, there is. And I experienced it this — Tuesday — morning: The guilt-driven, forced practice because you can’t take two days off in one week.

I sat on the edge of the bed Tuesday morning, about 4:30, a full 30 minutes before I get up normally. I sat weighing whether I should turn off the alarm, fall back onto my pillow and try to get another two full hours of sleep after a fitful, at best, night.

It was either that, or get up. Because I’d realized I needed to be out of the house earlier than normal; being on the mat at 6:15 was going to be too late.

I had to move or just give up.

I moved. There was no other choice, because Wednesday there’s no practice (also no real sleep-in). No practice, because of the Moon Day I so love, but which in this moment was breaking my heart.

On the one upside, today’s been a stellar one proving that, indeed, no coffee, no prana.

Posted by Steve

How do you celebrate a Moon Day?

Enjoying yourself today?

For Ashtangis, today of course is a Moon Day — a day off of practice. To boot, it falls on a Sunday, one of the best of all Moon Days, along with Friday. (Why? Because it combines with the usual Saturday day of rest to produce a “weekend of rest.”)

The inconstant moon

Bobbie is teaching one of her three Intro classes today, as usual. According to our teacher, Jörgen Christiansson, Guruji said that Moon Days only applied to people with a regular (i.e. six-day-a-week) practice. Thus, theoretically, newer students aren’t yet under the “Moon Day” rule.

So she’ll be off to Omkar at 10:30 a.m. (Join if you are around LA.) I’ll be with her, not because I don’t have a regular practice, but because for a variety of reasons, I had to miss the Friday Led class. I like to think I just moved my Moon Day around a little.

Because Moon Days seem so special, a lot of the Ashtangis I know tend to do something in relative celebration of the day. Maybe 82% of those “somethings” are going out the night before since the alarm clock isn’t going to go off at 5 a.m. or so.

But perhaps you have a more creative or even more meaningful way you celebrate Moon Days?

Posted by Steve