Moon Days - What Are They?

by Corrie Ananda

Traditionally, Ashtanga Yoga is not practised when the moon is full (purnima) or new (amayasa). These are called ‘Moon Days.’ Some say the moon’s phases can change a person’s energy so it’s best to take a break every now and then from the six days a week practice. Others say the rest days were enforced by the matriarch of the Ashtanga lineage, Amma Jois, who wanted her husband to spend more time at home, and less with his students!


In Vedic philosophy, the notion ‘as above, so below’ is where it is thought that the waxing and waning of the moon exerts a gravitational pull on the earth — and our minds. 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’s worth bearing in mind the moon’s influence on the tides, and that the human body’s composition is 66% water, taking a day of rest is a ritual worth adopting.


The choice to adhere to this observance is personal, but many students observe moon days out of respect for the knowledge and teachings of our forebearers. Committing to a lineage and its traditions offers us humility, thoughtfulness and discipline.


I find that as a modern practitioner living in a world that is increasingly disconnected from the natural environment, following the phases of the moon 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.



The Ashtanga Guided Self Practice programme  (for beginners as well as those with experience)  runs every day of the week. – Book now.