February New Moon Sadhana

It has been a long time since I posted anything to my blog, not because there has been nothing going on, but rather because there was much was going on below the surface and it wasn’t time for expression. I have been in a wonderful space of contemplation, inner reflection, purification, and quiet creativity this winter. The seeds planted in the autumn are just now making their way to the surface, but they are not quite ready to come forth yet.

photo by Sherri Conley

photo by Sherri Conley.

We have been enjoying unseasonably warm weather here in BC this month, and even in Whistler the snow has melted on the ground and I can go outside without my big jacket as I’ve needed to in Februarys past. This gentle rising energy, combined with the now perceptibly lengthening days lets me know that spring is truly coming, and yet I am making a conscious effort to nourish myself deeply in this last month of winter by not moving into extroverted activity too quickly.
Nature moves in rhythms that are sacred in their perfection of timing. There is a time for dreaming and releasing, a time for nourishing, a time for awakening, and a time for expression, each one potent with it’s own energy signature. My life is sweetly bound by a felt experience of sacred timekeeping and the more I structure my days and weeks and years in resonance with nature’s rhythms, the better I feel. Whereas when I begin to move on a timescale that has been created by my own sense of urgency, or one that has been imposed on me by the overculture, I quickly begin to lose my centre.
So though much has been percolating within during the quiet season, and there is much I am excited to bring into being during the next season to come, I am celebrating today’s new moon quietly, in the peace of my own home, nourished by simple practices that ground and nourish me. I have taken a number of weeks off from teaching contracts in the past month so that I could focus on the building of some creative projects I have wanted to manifest for a long time. One is a mythology immersion that I will be offering online and so my days have been filled with myth and story, and the richness of spiritual symbolism. They have also been filled with alot of screen time so I am balancing this out by spending as much time walking in the woods as possible, and receiving solid human contact in the form of long cuddles with my family. I have just one week left of this short sabbatical I have taken and then I am back into a busy teaching schedule, but I have decided to cut down on the amount of drop in classes that I teach, in favour of making more space for programs and events that will allow me to foster a greater relationship with my students, and to provide more in the form of quality teaching. This has been one of the things I have realized I needed to let go of. Teaching all levels drop in yoga classes that run from 60-75 minutes simply does not feed me in the way I want to be fed by the work that I do, nor does it allow me to serve others at the level that I would like to. I’ll be posting more in my newsletters and social media in the next couple months about some new ways I would like to work with people in the context of yoga practice and study, but for now suffice it to say that change is coming and in the meantime I am using this last bit of winter to rest, restore, quietly create, and prepare for the expressive season that is nearly upon us.
With todays’ post I wanted to share with you some simple practices that make up my typical new moon sadhana, and some in particular that can help you get the most out of these last few weeks of winter so that when spring truly arrives you feel vibrant, and ready to blossom into action.

New Moon Practices

Invocation & Meditation: mantra, prayer, invocation and meditation have become my foundational practices to start (and often end) my day. This does not need to be a long and involved practice, but can simply include a simple declaration of intent (why are you practicing?), a calling out to the guides and teachers that support you, a short practice of invocation/spiritual song/ or mantra, followed by a period of silent meditation. Even if you can’t commit to doing this every day, the day of the New Moon is a sweet time of invitation in which to renew your commitment to a daily practice. I find the energy current of the New Moon to be one of increased receptivity, sensitivity, and contentment. There is a natural lull in the subtle energy of the lunar cycle as we reach the bottom of the exhale phase of the month.  Though the energy will begin to build after this day, on the day of the new moon there is a sweet quality of emptiness and potentiality that carries with it none of the urgency to do or to create, so it is a potent time for subtle practices and will strengthen your commitment for the rest of the cycle (or at least that has been my experience).

  • Seasonal consideration: since we are in the last true month of winter this is a great time to clarify what it is you want to bring forth into the fertile season of spring, and what you want to leave behind in the rich compost of last season. Meditation can be a great tool for helping you to discern this.

Restorative Asana Practice: I rarely do a strong asana practice on a new moon, unless I am at an event or a retreat. Left to my own devices I prefer to do a few simple restorative practices, including a good amount of time in seated and hip opening postures. Anything to encourage the downward current of energy and facilitate a more receptive state in my physical, as well as my mental body. This is not my typical mode of practice as I love the flow of dynamic vinyasa, but on New Moon days or in the first few days of my menses I treat myself to some time closer to the earth and enjoy laying on my bolsters.

  • Seasonal consideration: most of us are severely sleep deprived and generally over stimulated. Winter is meant to be the season of deep rest and restoration, and yet most of us don’t allow ourselves the gift of slowing down. If you have had a busy winter (like myself), then use this last month wisely and consider adding more restorative practice in, as well as soaking up more quiet time and catching up on some sleep before the days get longer again.

Journal Writing & Contemplation: I have kept a journal since I was nine years old, and though I certainly don’t write daily as I once did, I do tend to check in on New Moon days. This is a time for me to reflect on the last cycle, take note of what is shifting in my inner worlds as the seasons change, and purge anything that needs expressing. Writing is so good for that!

  • Seasonal consideration: consider using your journal time to look back on your intentions set in autumn or near the Solstice/New Year and see if you are still in alignment with them, or if they need to be revised, or re-committed to. Notice what has faded away and what is coming into focus.

Medicine Making: I love preparing tinctures, or infused oils on New Moon days. I will prepare these herbal medicines on this day of darkness, and then put them on my counter to steep for the next six weeks or until a full cycle has passed and we come to the next Full Moon. I also tend to refresh my herbal tea mixtures as this is day that I like to spend close to home and soaking up the hearth energy. Below is a recipe I have been enjoying lately. This recipes is in parts to keep it simple. Parts represent volume, not weight. You can order herbs online from Harmonic Arts, a family run business that sources high quality organic herbs.
New Moon Nervine Tea Blend

  • 1 part skullcap
  • 1 part chamomile flowers
  • 1 part lemon balm
  • 1 part oatstraw
  • 1 part rose petals
  • 2 parts spearmint

Blend together and store in a glass jar. Make as an infusion with 1 Tbs per cup of boiling water. Let steep for 10 minutes before straining and drinking. Good any time of day, and lovely at night.

  • Seasonal consideration: this is a very nourishing nervine blend that will encourage deeper rest when you are sleeping, soothe frazzled nerves throughout the day, and generally support an overstimulated nervous system so that you can recharge your batteries before spring comes.

If you want to learn more about sacred timekeeping, living in rhythm, home practice, and the joys of kitchen sadhana for health and wellness, please join me for my next round of my Yoga for Life program. An online immersion focused on living the wisdom of Yoga and Ayurveda.