New Moon | Yin Sequence

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Filipa Carmo

Hello Yinsters,

This month, on the 11/12th is the new moon in Aries, the first sign of zodiac. This new moon represents the beginning of the new astrological year and a good moment to set intentions for the year ahead creating a vision of what you want to manifest.

The moon phases are determined by the position of the moon in relation to the sun. The full moon happens when the moon is in the opposite position to the sun and Earth and the new moon occurs when the moon and sun are aligned. According to the Taoism principles of balance the moon and the sun represent the opposite forces Yin and Yang and both have a very important energetic impact on the Earth.

The energy coming from the moon plays an important role in ocean tides. Also, there is a reported influence of the moon over humans that dates back thousands of years. The forces generated by the moon have a visible influence over water and, because up to 60% of the human body is water, that can be the explanation for the effects of the moon phases on us.

The energy of the moon can be compared to the breathing. The full moon can bring an excess of energy and is related to the inhalation. The new moon, however, can cause a decrease of the energy and is related to the exhalation and the energy of letting go.

On the new moon, the moon is in the shadow of the night encouraging you to let go the energy that you don’t longer need and create space to embrace a new beginning. This end of a cycle and beginning of a new one represents a moment that can be compared to a blank page in a life’s book.

Why is the new moon related with Yin Yoga?

Some yoga traditions recommend honouring the natural cycle of nature by abstaining from practice on the days of full and new moon. These days are ideal for more restful practices because there is a higher chance of injury with the energy changes caused by the moon. Instead, it’s recommended to slow down and partake in meditative and introspective practices as Yin Yoga.

The descendent energy of the new moon might cause physical and mental fatigue. You also may experience a state of pronounced emotions. Yin Yoga can balance your energy and relax the nervous system which leads to physical and mental relaxation and creates the opportunity to take time to just observe and listen yourself and allow the emotions to flow, cultivating self-comprehension.

Being aware of the nature cycles and their energy can be one of the first steps to balance emotions with the body, manage your productivity and live in harmony. In this new moon I invite you to enjoy a Yin practice to allow yourself to let go and plant a seed from a state of appreciation and gratitude.

Find a quiet place, forget any worries of the past, any future expectations and allow yourself to be and to feel the present moment for the next hour.
Feel free to use a bolster or a pair of pillows, blocks and a blanket any time it brings more comfort to stay in the pose.

Use the suggested playlist for the practice or stay in silence and let’s begin!

MY PLAYLIST

1. Meditation pose (5 min)

Sit comfortably with your sitz bones into the ground or on a cushion, feeling the connection with Earth and observe how your spine grows straight up. Rest the right hand on the lower abdomen and the left hand on the center of the chest connecting with yourself and your natural breathing. Be aware about every inhalation and every exhalation naturally slowing it down.

Without any judgement accept every sensation in your body and every thought coming up to your mind and allow it to pass by. Stay for 5 minutes in your meditation pose, bring the right hand above the left hand and connect with your heart. Set an intention to the practice.

2. Supported Fish (5 min)

Place your bolster perpendicular to your body in the thoracic spine (upper back) and lie down on the bolster opening the chest. Slide the arms to the sides, palms facing up. Place the soles of your feet on the mat or, if it’s more comfortable for you, extend both legs.

Allow yourself to relax the back, the shoulders and the face muscles, areas where we normally carry some tension and allow your chest to open. Hold the pose for 5 minutes. Keep your eyes closed or slightly open and start to look inside allowing your emotions to show up. As you breathe in create space, and as you breathe out let go of emotions or thoughts that no longer serve you.

Bring the bolster or any other support that you used to the side, stretch completely your back into the floor and stay for a couple of minutes integrating the sensations of these chest opening.

3. Half Stirrup (3 min)

Hug your knees to the chest for a moment. Bring the right foot to the floor and slide your left hand to grab your left foot or your ankle. Draw the knee toward the ribcage and allow the hip to open. Stay with the right foot grounded on the floor or extend the leg.

You may use a bolster perpendicular to your body at the hips height to support your lower back if it’s comfortable for you. Relax the right arm to the side or rest your right hand into your left hip. Stay in this pose for 3 minutes.

Repeat it the other side after the reclining spinal twist.

4. One Knee Reclining Twist (4 min)

Hug the left knee into the chest and extend the bottom leg. Draw the knee across the body toward the right side laying your right hand on the knee and open the left arm to the side and relax into a spinal twist.

After 4 minutes come to a neutral position hugging both knees into the chest. Bring the left foot to the floor and repeat the half stirrup on the other side followed by the reclining twist.

After the second side draw both knees into the chest for a moment and start to extend both legs melting into a rebound pose for a couple of minutes. If your mind starts to jump between thoughts, simply observe, accept them and let them go returning to your breath. Bring your knees back to the chest and maybe move slowly to one side and to the other giving yourself a soft massage to the lumbar spine.

5. Neck stretch (3 min)

Slowly find the way to come back to a seated position, coming into seated pose with the hips sitting back onto the heels. You may use a blanket under the hips or sit on a block for support. Relax your right hand on the right knee and grab your right arm with the left hand rounding the back. Slowly bend your neck to the right side stretching the left side. Adjust the posture of your neck moving forward or backward finding any trigger point that need to be stretched. Stay for 3 minutes. Slowly drop the right arm, bring the chin to the chest and relax your back neck.

Repeat to the other side holding the pose for 3 minutes.

Stay for a couple of minutes stretching the back of the neck with the chin to the chest and if you feel comfortable interlace your hands behind your head relaxing the elbows forward.

6. Butterfly pose (5 min)

From the previous seated position bring the buttocks to one side and extend the legs forward. Feel free to move your legs if needed and start to bend the knees to the sides in a butterfly legs shape. You can place a blanket as a support to your sitting bones and adjust your heels forward from your groin so your legs stay in a diamond shape. Use the bolster as a support to your abdomen and chest and start to fold over the bolster. Walk your fingertips slowly on the floor coming forward or to the sides allowing the spine to round and hold the pose for 5 minutes.

Slowly rise up, move your legs and start to extend your back body into the ground staying in a rebound for a couple of minutes relaxing completely and observe the sensations.

7. Half frog with Sphinx (4 min)

Roll onto your belly. Bend the right knee and slip it up on the mat maintaining the hips on the ground. Relax the hips and abdomen. Hold it for 2 minutes and start to bring your forearms and elbows to the floor coming up to sphinx pose. Leave the forearms on the ground or bring both palms together touching the space between the eyebrows with the thumbs and allow the mind to slow down. Adjust your legs and arms creating more space if needed and avoid any pressure in the lower back. Hold the position for 2 more minutes.

Slowly relax the forearms and lie down on your belly for a couple of minutes in a rebound. Repeat the same sequence on the other side.

8. Child’s pose (4 min)

Come to table top position with your hands and knees on the ground. Use a blanket to support your knees if needed and start to slowly move your spine, hips and neck in a free movement stretching it with awareness. Stop the movement and bring the knees out as wide as you feel comfortable keeping the buttocks toward the heels. Extend your arms out in front of you and use the bolster as a support to your chest and face or lean the head directly to the ground.

Hold the pose for 4 minutes. When done, release the props to one side and lie down on your chest for 3 minutes.

9. Viparita Karani / Legs up “the wall” (5 min)

Roll onto your back and place the bolster perpendicular to the body at the base of the spine and hips to support the lower back. Hug your knees to the chest and start to extend the legs up to the ceiling. If you have a wall close you can use it as a support for your legs against the wall. Stay for 5 minutes.

This pose stimulate a deep relaxation, calming the nervous system and anxiety and help to increase the blood circulation.

10. Shavasana (10 min)

Extend your legs into the ground using all the space that you need to relax in a comfortable pose. If you feel tension on the lower back use the bolster below your knees as a support helping to relax the spine.

Stay in Shavasana as long as you feel your body asks for (at least 10 min).

Release any tension in your physical and mental body and feel your natural breath. If your mind starts to nudge you with a lot of thoughts, do your best to just observe. Accept the thoughts and let them go away. Let go of any physical tension or worries and relax.

After the time you decide to give yourself in Shavasana, start to awaken your body with slow movements… extend your arms overhead and stretch your arms and legs.

Take your time, keep your eyes closed, come to a seated position and take a few moments to observe how you feel right now. Bring your hands to the center of your chest, feel your heartbeat and remember your intention to the practice. Bow your head to your heart and thank yourself for taking this time.

Remind yourself of the importance of being aware of emotions and how it can help you to understand you and let go everything that you don’t need.

From a place of peace and calmness I invite you to write down your intentions for the new cycle in a piece of paper and remember to conclude it with a feeling of gratitude.

Thank you very much for sharing this practice with me.

Namaste,

Filipa

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Filipa Carmo
Filipa Carmo
Filipa is a Portuguese Yin and Vinyasa Yoga instructor in Barcelona. After studying nutrition, she started to deepen her awareness about the importance of a healthy lifestyle and it was after a trip to Indonesia that Filipa started to incorporate yoga in her life. She explored yoga both personally and professionally in her career. Filipa did her initial 200 hour Hatha Vinyasa Teacher Training in Barcelona. After that, she started to be very curious about Yin and eventually participated in a Yin Yoga Teacher Training with Carolina Drake and studied Myofascial release and Chinese meridians in Yinspiration with Franziska Gottschlich. Now she teaches Funcional Vinyasa and Yin Yoga in Spanish and English.

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