What is the meaning of a new moon?
A new moon is the perfect time to reflect, tune in, recharge and create a vision for the cycle ahead. A new moon invites us to slow down and to set a clear intention for a new beginning and for what we want to manifest in our lives. It’s about introspection and renewal aligned with our essence.
A new moon is invisible in the sky as it is a moment of ‘darkness’ and introspection. The moon controls the tides on Earth and as we are made of around 75% water, we are going to notice changes in our body but also in our thoughts and emotions arising from we don’t know where. A new moon has a strong magnetic pull and is therefore a perfect time to choose in which direction you want to stir your life.
Be mindful to stay positive and optimistic during this period, as it often involves faith and optimism in the intention we set despite not being able to ‘see’ it just yet. Watch your thoughts and self-talk, especially in the 2-3 days before and after the new moon. Repeating mantras and affirmations to support your intention would be useful too.
Setting your intention
This March new moon is in Pisces, a water sign, which is about going with the flow of life. We do not choose life events but we can choose how we perceive them; so it’s about developing a certain flexibility to surf the waves of life. It is also about bringing completion and wholeness so that we can heal old wounds and truly focus on the journey ahead and plant the seed of intention. It could be starting a new project or setting the emotional tone for the month ahead.
To help you set your intention and focus, ask yourself: how do I want to feel? What do I want to bring into my life? What is my focus for my wellbeing?
This Yin yoga sequence is designed to help you slow down, reflect and tune within so that you can access your inner wisdom and courage to support you in acting on your intention.
Remember the 3 principles of Yin Yoga:
- Find your appropriate edge. Don’t force or push your body. Simply stay where there is enough stimulation for your enquiry. If you start feeling pain, please come out of the pose. Try to relax as many muscles as possible.
- Remain still and focused on the present moment, on your slow and steady breath, and on the sensations arising and dissolving.
- Hold the pose. Use a timer. Start with 1 or 2 minutes and slowly increase to 3, 4 or 5 minutes, if it feels comfortable. Your body will tell you when to come out but will your mind listen…?
So, get your props ready and enjoy the journey!
Sit cross-legged or in Easy pose (photo) with your spine straight. Relax your shoulders and your jaw. Take 10 mindful breaths through the nose. Deep inhale, long exhale. Pause for a moment after your 10 breaths and notice the effects of this practice on your breathing, on your body and on your mind.
Repeat your intention mentally 3 times. Feel it deep inside your being, vibrating through every cell.
2. Child’s pose
From all fours, bring the big toes together and open your knees as wide as the mat. Sit on your heels, slowly walk your hands away from you and fold forward bringing your forehead to the Earth. Relax your arms, allow your pelvis, belly and chest to melt into the earth. Maintain your awareness on your breath, as you begin your introspection and to open the window onto your inner world.
Stay for 3-5 min.
3. Dragonfly (Straddle)
Open your legs as wide as they are willing to go. Relax the feet, calves and thighs. Gradually walk your hands forward. You should feel sensation in the inner thighs. If you are experiencing tightness in your hips and lower back, sit on a blanket to elevate the pelvis and thus release tightness in that area. Perhaps slightly leaning forward with the arms locked is enough of a stimulation for you. Otherwise experiment lovingly with your appropriate edge: you may need to rest the forearms on a block (photo), two blocks or a bolster. Otherwise, bring your forearms to the floor and you can rest your forehead on your hands (photo).
Remain anchored in your breath with slow and steady breathing, allowing thoughts and emotions to arise and dissolve by letting them ride the breath.
Stay for 3-5 min.
Counter the pose with a few rounds of Windshield Wipers by bending your knees and bringing one knee after the other down towards the middle line of the body.
4. Sleeping Swan
From Table top position, bring your right knee to your right wrist and the right foot between the left hip and the left wrist. Check how the right knee feels here. If tight or painful, bring the left foot in towards the right hip. Make sure that your weight is equally spread. If you are leaning to the right, place a rolled blanket or a block under the right hip for support in centering yourself. Slowly walk your hands forward and come onto your forearms, resting your forehead on the back of your hands. If that’s too much, you can rest the elbows on a bolster, or you can rest your whole torso on a bolster placed lengthwise under your chest.
Keep breathing through the sensations in your right glutes and outer thigh. Stay present in the moment and after 3 minutes (or a duration that feels right to you), very slowly come up and repeat on the left side.
Stay for 1-5 min on each side.
Sit with your legs extended in front of you and begin to gently fold forward over your legs. Allow your chest to soften and release any tension in the neck or the jaw. Stay with your deep inhales and long exhales.
Again, if there is tightness in the hips and lower back, or if you have sciatica, you may prefer to sit on a blanket. If you have a bulging disc in the lumbar spine or other lower back issues, be very mindful of the sensations in the lower back and do not push it. It may be better for you to not round the spine and keep it straight. One or two minutes in this pose may be sufficient for you. If you have tight hamstrings, place a rolled blanket under the knees.
Stay for 3-5 min.
Sit in between your heels and notice how that feels. If you have knee problems, skip this pose. Slowly start reclining yourself by walking the hands back. You can rest on your forearms or on a bolster lengthwise under your back, or all the way to floor (photo 1). Raise the arms above head to open the shoulders and enhance the stretch in the hip flexors.
If there is too much tension in the knees, instead of having both legs bent, you can extend one leg (Half Saddle), or you can bend the extended leg with the sole on the mat (photo 2).
Start to open to life possibilities. Draw in nourishing breaths and inspiration.
Come out by propping yourself up pushing on your hands or elbows and slowly straighten your leg(s). If you can’t come up, roll to the side and extend the opposite leg.
Stay for 1-3 min on each side.
Counter the pose by lying on your back with your legs straight; tighten and release the knees, or take Child’s pose very slowly and kindly to release the lower back.
7. Happy Baby
Lie on your back and hug the knees to your chest. Grab the soles of the feet, the ankles or even the back of the legs. Open your feet so that they come above the knees and pull the knees towards the floor, close to your chest (photo 1). After a few minutes of actively pulling on your arms, relax them and let gravity draw the knees down towards the floor. You can curve the tailbone off the mat or keep it on the floor.
If your hips are not working with you on this, as this is a deep hip opener, keep the soles of the feet together near the groin, hold the feet or the ankles and let the knees open (photo 2). Use a strap to hold the feet, if you have one.
Keep your awareness on your breath; send the breath to the pelvis area and allow it to loosen any tension. Give yourself permission to release any old emotions that is supporting your intention.
Stay for 2 min if actively pulling on the arms, or up to 5 min if you can relax them.
Counter the pose with Windshield Wipers lying down or hug your knees to your chest.
8. Supported Fish
Sit with your legs straight in front of you and place a block just under the shoulder blades and another one to support your head. You could also place a bolster lengthwise behind your back to support both your head and back. If there is tension in the neck, elevate the top of the bolster with a block. Let your arms completely rest to the side, palms facing up.
It is very easy to stay in this pose more than 5 minutes, as it is deeply restorative. You are welcome to cover yourself with a blanket to stay warm and to feel protected if you are feeling exposed or vulnerable.
Supported Fish is a lovely pose to relax, renew and open ourselves up a little more (just like we are gently opening the chest here) to life’s opportunities and unexpected solutions.
Invite the breath in, let it fill up your lungs and abdomen. Let the breath nourish your body and mind with everything you need to carry out your intention.
Lie down on your back, legs apart and fully relaxed, arms completely relaxed to the side with the palms upwards. Slightly tuck your chin in to elongate and release the neck. Make yourself extra comfortable by placing a bolster under your knees and a blanket over your body to keep you warm.
Savasana is an excellent pose to further relax your body and mind, as the body assimilates the benefits of the practice. It is also an excellent time to keep your awareness within and to notice the energy flowing in your body. It’s fine if you fall asleep but try to maintain aware.
If your mind is racing and wandering, scan your body from the toes to the top of your head, or as you breathe in, mentally say ‘let’ and as you breathe out, ‘go’.
Put your timer on for 5-10 minutes or stay for as long as you need. As you slowly and lovingly come out of this pose, take a few mindful breaths and remind yourself of your intention.
Let me know in the comments if you have any questions or want to share your experience. I would love to hear how you feel after your practice.
Please consult with your physician before beginning any exercise program. By participating in this exercise or exercise program, you agree that you do so at your own risk, are voluntarily participating in these activities, assume all risk of injury to yourself, and agree to release and discharge The Box of Happiness from any and all claims or causes of action, known or unknown, arising out of The Box of Happiness’ negligence.
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