Harnessing the Full Moon

An excerpt from my asana journal on the final day of a 5 day intensive with David Garrigues at Breathe Together Yoga.

In the days leading up to the full moon, I felt uneasy about practicing with the moon full. Years working as a critical care nurse working nightshift on a full moon has reinforced the notion that freaky things happen on a full moon. I guess this is why I have taken the tradition to take rest on “moon days” seriously – especially the full moon. On Monday, the full moon fell on the final day of a 5-day Ashtanga Yoga Intensive with David Garrigues (aka “DG”). I asked my teacher for advice on how to proceed. She advised me to let go of worry and just do it. And so I did.

Taking David’s teaching advice from Day 1 to “decide” that “every asana is going to be good”, I rolled out my mat mindfully and with dedicated certainty. It was going to be okay. Better even. It was going to be good.

My practice was a culmination of the teachings given to us during the five amazing days of the intensive. My mind was oddly calm in spite of how tired I was from the previous days of rigorous asana, pranayama, theory and chanting. As if harnessing the moon, I found a nice balance point at the edge of exhaustion and exhilaration.  Everyone around me seemed to be doing the same.

Of all the asanas in my practice, Kapotasana was the one which seemed highlighted during this intensive. Each day, I came to it with the plan to take it on once and then move on. This was not my usual routine; more often than not, I take a few false starts (reaching up but not going back) before I am able to fully access the power of my legs and openness in my back to move towards the mat behind me.

Each day, in this intensive, it seemed to come a little easier or deeper than the day before. I had no idea how it actually looked but it felt like I was making progress. So when I heard Erika, my teacher, telling me to hang on so she could get photos of me moving through the positions of the pose, I didn’t mind holding it for a few breaths longer. I did my best to get my fingers to my toes, as I’d been able to do the previous few days. It didn’t matter if this magic was due to the heat of the room, or simply because DG was here. We are taught to practice non-attachment. Right? If I wasn’t able to reproduce it past today, it would be lovely to have a photo of what is possible.

Feeling like I’d taken my Kapotasana as deeply as possible, I was starting to come out of the pose when I heard DG say, “Hang on, Julie.” I waited as he made his way over. A moment later, he was showing me how much deeper in the pose was possible – for me even. I emerged whole, grateful and high on an adrenaline rush (or maybe I was just in awe of possibility).

My practice went on from Kapotasana even more open to possibility. By the time I rolled up my mat, I was enjoying the feeling of feeling completely emptied out and filled up – simultaneously.  What’s more, I emerged from the Intensive clear, complete, and uninjured. While I have no intention to ignore the tradition of resting on moon days, I am glad that I made an exception for this one.

Larry, David Garrigues, me, Erika Abrahamian

I’ve learned so much in this intensive and look forward to putting it into practice. Every day. Every pose. Using each repetition within the set sequence to create a meditation that takes me within. There’s so much there….

Thank you David, Erika, Jo, Julie and Julia for an AWEsome experience.

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