I love the dark moon.
The dark moon is all about resting (think four of swords in the tarot), taking care of yourself, and shedding anything that still needs to be released this cycle.
The name of the game at the dark moon is soft, slow, and gentle. There’s no need to push yourself. What would make you feel good at this time? What would nurture your body, mind, and soul?
A yin yoga practice is so lovely at this time of the month. The practice below focuses on gentle opening and a little twisting to help you sink into your body and breath. You’ll want to hold each of the poses for 3-5 minutes and let yourself really relax into them.
Grab your own moon phase ritual cards including the dark moon card featured above by clicking here.
I invite you to use a mantra or affirmation that speaks to you during this practice: a simple and beautiful one is soham, or “I am.” This affirmation brings you right into the present moment and allows you to be still with what is.
Get into something comfy, and grab your blocks, a blanket, a pillow, essential oils, and whatever else would make this practice really nourishing for you. Turn on your favorite yoga playlist, light some candles, and roll out your mat.
Sit up on a block or blanket, and bring the soles of your feet together. Bring your hands to your feet, and give yourself a little foot massage. Rub your feet, your ankles, your calves, and if you feel like getting wild you can make your way up to your neck and shoulders, too! If you’re using essential oils, you can incorporate them here. A simple warming sesame oil would also work.
Laying on your belly, stretch your left arm out to your side and roll onto your left cheek. Bring your right palm under your right shoulder and roll onto your left hip. You can stay here, or you might like to go a little deeper by bending your right leg and planting your right foot behind you, and wrapping your right arm around your back.
Stay here with your breath for 3-5 minutes. Then come back to center and repeat on your right side.
On your belly, stretch your arms out to a T and roll onto your left cheek. Open your right knee out to your side, stretching it out even with your hip if you can. If your knee is sensitive, slide your blanket under it. Allow yourself to be supported in this pose, and remind yourself that it is safe to relax completely.
After 3-5 minutes, shift back to center and over to the other side.
As you breathe through each movement of flexing and rounding your spine, visualize your breath flowing up and down your spine all the way from your tailbone to the crown of your head. Make this dynamic pose your own by taking circles or figure eights with your hips, stretching through side body, coming onto your fingertips to get deeper into your back, or coming back for a child’s pose. What is your body craving here? Let your breath take you there.
Try bringing your big toes together and knees wide, and roll a blanket or place a pillow between your legs. Release your chest and forehead onto your makeshift bolster. If you need to, feel free to turn your head to one side. Just make sure you turn it to the other side after a few minutes!
Set up your blocks at two different heights at the top of your mat: the low and medium setting, or the medium and high setting. The second block should be vertical (long like your mat) and the first block at the very top of your mat should be horizontal.
Lower your back onto your blocks, first setting the second block up to run along your spine and end under your shoulder blades. The first block will come to the base of your skull, supporting your head and neck.
Bring the soles of your feet together and knees wide, and both palms to your belly. Breathe deeply into your belly, noticing how it feels to really expand in this area where we so often try to shrink and contract.
Let your awareness melt away after a few moments, and completely relax into this pose.
Hug your knees to your chest and guide both knees over to one side, stretching out your opposite arm and turning your head in that direction. If there is a gap between your knees, it could feel good to slide a block between them. After 3-5 minutes, switch to the other side.
In this twist, bring your awareness to anything you’d still like to shed or release this cycle. With each exhale, visualize it leaving your body, mind, and soul.
Even if you’re tempted, don’t skip savasana! This is the most important part of any yoga practice, especially with the dark moon. Get cozy here with any combination of pillows and blankets that feels good to you. You might like to put a pillow under your head, a rolled blanket under your knees, or even take a grounding crone savasana on your belly with each shoulder resting on a block. Stay here for 5 minutes or longer, allowing yourself to really rest. If you have plenty of time, find a yoga nidra meditation to play.
After you finish your practice, you might like to take out your journal and write about anything that came up for you here.
If you love the dark moon, too, check out this dark moon inspired ring.
About Eryn Johnson
Eryn is a mystic and seeker currently based in Philadelphia. She teaches yoga, reads tarot, does reiki energy healing, and loves to write. She is also the host of the Living Open podcast, and if she’s not teaching yoga or reading tarot you can probably find her in a crystal shop, buying plane tickets, or googling someone’s birth chart. Follow along with her adventures on Instagram at @erynj_ and at www.living-open.com.