the night was busy making the moon
I gathered my quilt
told my heart
we’d come back
~ Nayyirah Waheed
The observance of moon days originates from the Vedic philosophy ‘As above, so below’ where it is thought that the waxing and waning of the moon exerts a gravitational pull on the earth and our minds. The viewpoint is that the energy on the full and new moon days, made it easier to get injured, and that an injury caused at this time, would take longer to heal. In India yoga is commonly believed to be a practice of Vedic origin so it makes sense that the Vedic observances are applied to the yoga teachings.
It is out of respect for the knowledge and teachings of our forebearers that many students observe the moon days. The choice to adhere to this observance is personal, but it’s worth noting that committing to a lineage and its traditions offers us humility, thoughtfulness and discipline. From my own experience, as a modern practitioner living in a world that is increasingly disconnected from the natural environment, I have found that following the phases of the moon helps keeps me connected to the energy of nature. It also provides time for other reflective practices, such as walking in nature, journaling, a longer pranayama or meditation, or simply more sleep. Rest is always good.