Despite being 238,900 miles from Earth, the Moon affects us and our planet in many ways. Tides, for example, are known to be affected by the gravitational pull of the Moon. Water that faces the Moon is pulled towards it strongly; water which faces away from the Moon is pulled significantly less. Even the water beneath the Earth’s surface (groundwater that constitutes the water table) as well as water in plants and trees is affected by its position on Earth relative to the Moon.
Humans are three-quarters water. And like oceans and plants, we are affected by Lunar cycles. In addition to being watery, we are energetic beings. And since Full Moons are thought to be times of great energy, our vital energy (what is referred to as prana, or life force, in Yoga) is especially strong.
Full Moon is a time of upward movement, of feeling energetic, headstrong and even invincible. In contrast, apanic energy (the downward, grounding energy within the body) dominates at the other end of the Lunar cycle. As such, we feel more connected to the Earth during a New Moon. We’re more grounded, passive, and even lethargic.
Traditional asana sequences in Hatha Yoga are designed to balance apanic and pranic forces/movements within our bodies. In fact, each individual pose seeks similar balance by containing different degrees opposition — inward and outward rotation; inhalation and exhalation; grounding and reaching. During Full and New moons, however, prana and apana dominate respectively and can throw off such carefully crafted balances. Many yogis say, the more we practice and become sensitive to the energy within and around our bodies, the more important observing these cycles becomes.