A Quieting Yin Yoga Practice for the Full Moon in Pisces
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On Saturday, September 10, 2022, the full Moon in Pisces will illuminate the night sky. For modern mystics and spiritual seekers, a full Moon is an opportunity to release samskaras, or patterned ways of thinking that, if left unchecked, keep us stuck in the same cycle.
The Moon is influenced by whichever sign it resides in for that day. Pisces, a mutable air sign, carries the energy of the idealistic dreamer, the poet, and the believer. Inherently mystical and perhaps a little slow-moving, Pisces energy challenges us to see life from beyond the illusions created by our minds so that we can create the kind of life we want for ourselves.
You can draw on the full Moon in Pisces to strengthen your connection to your intuition and that knowing that lies beyond thinking. Any practices that help you slow down--such as meditation, pranayama, or Yin yoga--can assist.
This 30-minute Yin yoga class will help you become quiet and tune in. A series of forward folds supported by steady breathing will help soothe the nervous system and release physical tension. Perhaps you'll even find your grasp on the physical world and what you think you should be experiencing. Instead, ease into a space of surrender to the moment.
A Yin Yoga Practice for the full Moon in Pisces
Try not to feel any need to force the stretch or expend effort in the following poses. Try to make each pose soft. Once you've found your desired version of the position, close your eyes and commit to stillness.
Come to kneeling, bring your knees as wide as your mat and your big toes to touch, and sit back on your heels. Stretch your arms in front of you as you rest your forehead on the mat and close your eyes in Child's Pose. Find whatever version of the posture feels comfortable in your body. Take a few deep breaths here. Give yourself some time to arrive in your body and your practice as you cultivate your inner awareness. Rest here for 2 minutes.
From Child's Pose, walk your hands to your left. Remain here or keep your left hand grounded as you reach your right hand behind your back toward your left hip, palm facing away from you. Breathe deeply here for 1 minute. Gently bring yourself back to center and take a few breaths here. Repeat the variation on the second side, remaining there for 1 minute. Walk your hands back to center.
From Child's Pose, draw your knees together and lift yourself to Tabletop, placing a blanket beneath them if you'd like more support. Or you can lift yourself to Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog Pose) and stay here for a few breaths to release before stepping your foot forward.
From Tabletop or Down Dog, step your left foot forward toward the outer edge of the mat so both hands are on the inner side of your foot. You can rest your hands on the floor or on blocks if your hips or shoulders are feeling tight. For more of a stretch, inch your right knee toward the back of the mat and sink your hips toward the mat a little. Relax your upper back, drawing your chin in toward your chest. As you breathe, feel the muscles around your hips begin to soften. Stay here for 2 minutes.
From Dragon, slowly lift your chest and shift your hips toward the back of the mat. Start to straighten your left leg and come into Half Splits, coming high on your fingertips or bringing blocks beneath your hands. Stay here for a few breaths.
Then bend your left knee again, this time bringing the outer edge of your knee and your calf to the floor and sliding your left foot toward the front of your right hip. Let your pelvis settle down toward the mat, taking support beneath your left hip if needed. Come onto your hands or elbows, either on blocks or the mat, in Sleeping Swan, which is very similar to Eka Pada Rajakapotasana (Pigeon Pose). Focus on releasing the grip from your outer hips and softening the edges of your body. Breathe here for 3 minutes.
When you're finished with Sleeping Swan, slowly move back to Tabletop. Reset your body here or in Downward-Facing Dog for a few breaths before repeating Dragon Pose and Sleeping Swan on the right side.
Sphinx or Seal
From Tabletop, lower onto your belly and bring your elbows underneath your shoulders. Straighten your legs behind you, hip-distance apart or, if you have lower back pain, take them wider. Relax the lower half of your body. Bring your forearms parallel to one another and draw your heart forward. If you'd like, you can drop your chin toward your chest. Relax your glutes and breathe here for 2 minutes.
You have the option to stay in Sphinx or extend into Seal by pressing into your palms and straightening your arms for a more intense backbend. Continue to stay here for 2 more minutes. To release, lower all the way down to your belly and rest for a moment.
From lying, transition into a seated position with your legs stretched straight in front of you. Inhale as you sit up tall, lifting your chest away from your hips as if in Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend). As you exhale, slowly begin to fold forward from your hips, as if you were bringing your chest toward your toes. Reach your arms forward but try to let the pose feel soft in your body. Do whatever you need to make the pose more comforting--bend your knees or slide a rolled blanket beneath them, relax your neck, or anything else. Once you've found your desired position, close your eyes and commit to stillness. Breathe here for 3 minutes.
Dragonfly pose (aka Straddle)
From Caterpillar, slowly lift your chest and stretch your legs wide into a V shape. Once again lift out of your hips as you inhale and, as you exhale, slowly start to walk your hands forward in between your legs. It's okay if you don't get very far. Just focus on relaxing your inner thighs, hamstrings, and back body. Close your eyes and surrender to stillness here for another 3 minutes.
To release, slowly sit up. Bend your knees and use your hands to help draw your legs toward your chest and allow them to fall gently side to side, like windshield wipers, for a few moments.
Supported Bridge Pose
Come onto your back, bend your knees, and place your feet on the mat in front of your hips. Rest your arms alongside your body and walk your heels toward your hips enough so you can graze your heels with your fingertips. Grab a block and, on an inhalation, lift your hips and place the block beneath your sacrum at whichever height setting is most comfortable for you. Be sure there is no pinching in the low back. Once you've found your position in supported Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose), let your body be heavy, as if it were melting around the edge of the block. Close your eyes and breathe deeply here for 3 minutes.
Lift your hips, remove the block, and slowly lower the entirety of your spine onto the floor. Remain here for several breaths, then draw your knees in toward your chest and softly rock back and forth for a few moments.
From lying on your back, bring your ankles toward the corner edges of the mat and release your arms by your sides in Savasana. Let all your limbs be heavy and release any hold you had on your breath. Stay still and rest for 4-10 minutes.
Then, when you're ready, slowly find some movement. Eventually make your way to sitting and ease back into your day.
About our contributor
Sierra Vandervort is a writer, modern mystic, and community builder. She's been practicing yoga for nearly a decade and was certified to teach in 2018. Sierra's The Mystic Members Club helps women deepen their spiritual studies, feel powerful, and build a community of like-minded souls. She loves to guide them to their witchy side by helping them embrace the confidence and abundance they deserve. She's also an avid traveller, dancer, writer, and music lover. You'll find her at thelocalmystic.com, on Instagram @thelocalmystic, and on YouTube.