Moon Day Rest Days
Water: Why No Drink During Practice
Food: When & What to Eat
Best Times to Practice
Śaucha - Cleanliness
Svādhyāya - Philosophy: Self Study
The gravitational effect of the moon is strongest when the moon is both new and full. That’s why the ocean’s tides are more extreme on these days. How it affects living systems such as plants and animals is perhaps more subtle than the effect on the ocean, but it is still real non-the-less. It is a long-standing tradition in Ashtānga Yoga to rest from our regular āsana practice on these days. Following this lunar rhythm connects us with one of nature’s most prominent cycles, and provides a welcome respite from the rigors of daily practice. Attune yourself to nature by following the lunar rest day cycle, and enjoy using the time for other spiritual practices such as prāṇāyāma, chanting or meditation.
We use an Indian astrology system that divides the lunar cycle into 30 time periods. In the West, a simply astronomical calculation of when the moon is full or new is used. In the Indian (Jyotish) system, the period of time prior to the point when the moon becomes exactly new/full is considered to be the ‘moon day’ (called a tithi in Jyotish Astrology). Our moon days come from the following online source: mypanchang.com and calculated for Irvine, CA.
The term ‘moon day’ is a misleading translation of the Sanskrit term ‘tithi,’ ‘lunar phase’ is a better conception. Each tithi is the time it takes the moon to traverse 12° across the sky - making 30 tithis (lunar phases) per lunar month. These tithis begin at varying times of day and even vary in duration as much as 19 - 26 hours. What gets called full and new ‘moon days’ – from a yoga perspective, from Sharath Jois’ perspective – are the 15th and the 30th tithis of the Jyotish Astrology system. And just to keep us on our toes: In Jyotish, day begins at sunrise not midnight!
WATER: Why No Drinking During Practice
Do not drink water during practice. Whenever anything is put into your stomach, your body sends resources there to process it (even just water). This hinders circulation and metabolism which in turn hinders the benefits and progress gained from your practice. Be sure to drink plenty of water more than 30 minutes or more prior to practice.
FOOD: When to Eat & Practice
In order to purify the body & mind properly, yoga must be practiced on an empty stomach. Following this discipline also helps free our sense of contentment from externals crutches: