The energy of new beginnings radiating out of this photo symbolized the essence of how I feel just before yoga teacher training programs start. There is a quality of emptying that takes place in preparation for the shared journey we embark upon. An inner silence. This kind of internal hermit mode is optimal for the new moon in Cancer (the energy of which we are in at this very moment). The new moon in Cancer is a seed moment asking you to travel into the depths of your heart to creatively rise to another level of self-expression. Tap into your inherent potential. Visualize plans for your future. The energy of this moon is associated with dreams, prophecy and visions. Throw your power behind an intention that you really want.
Cancer is a water sign represented by the crab. Cancer energy is intuitive and imbued with intense feelings about life; it is focused on emotional connection over reason or logic. Consider the crab’s skittering away at the slightest sign of danger; a good image to hold in mind at this juncture. Now is not a time to jump into the fray, but to hold back, go inside, and connect with your deepest emotional feelings, those intimate parts of yourself that the left-brain logical side is always trying to ignore or push away. Use this new moon time to anchor your desires and emotions to an intention, commitment or project. Decide from the truth within your heart rather than allowing someone else’s compass to dictate your soul’s direction.
I like simple yoga kriyas to get into this kind of mode. Sometimes inventing your own kriya will be the wisest path forward, especially when backed by the energy of the new moon in Cancer. Kriya literally means action or effort and is characterized primarily by the intention one sets before beginning. There is an associated energy of purification within most yoga kriyas. Kriya is an action that lets the seed of intention sprout into manifested reality. Kriyas are associated with removing blocks or obstacles to growth and transformation. One of the most simple kriyas listed in yogic texts is kapalabhati or breath of fire pranayama. Quiet solo practices are generally associated with inner “cave time” but everyone will be called forth to their own individual practices.
If you’re feeling stuck for a place to start, you may need to clear out stuck energy before moving into stillness. This kriya is one of my favorite for releasing and letting go and can be the starting point of your new moon yoga practice over the next few days.
- Find a place in your home where you can be alone and undisturbed for at least 10 minutes. Clear a space around you so that you can stand with your arms outstretched in any direction without bumping into furniture. In the same way, imagine that you could clear out a space in your mind to fully embody this practice.
- Set an intention, perhaps something that you are ready to release. Or focus on a perceived blockage with an intention to clear it away.
- Now stand with your feet a little wider than shoulder distance apart.
- Hold your arms up so that your elbows are a shoulder height and bend your elbows so that your hands face forward, fingertips to the sky (often referred to as “cactus arms”).
- Begin twisting from deep in your gut while holding your arms, shoulders, and head steady in this position.
- Inhale to center, exhale twist right, inhale center, exhale twist left. (If you are familiar with kapalabhati breathing practice this with the kriya). The breathing pattern is consciously fast; this speeded-up breathing pattern helps us to get out of rational thinking and to connect at the level of “gut feelings”.
- After a minute or so you may want to reach your arms up overhead, fingers interlaced, or instead stretch your arms all the way out low and allow your hands to gently slap against opposite hips as you continue to twist from your waistline.
- Continue for one to three minutes, stopping if you ever feel light-headed or dizzy. Instead of going from moving to standing stock still in an instant, take 3 to 4 breaths to slow and then stop the movement completely.
Find the still point amidst the shifting around and within you. You may notice that although your physical organism has found a point of stillness there is internal beating and pulsing that does not end. Reset and adjust to accommodate to whatever changes you sense from the practice. Consciously focus upon your intention and pay attention to what is showing up with as much acceptance and grace as you can muster. If all else fails, fake it ’til you make it. Your conscious intention is like a seed within the field of consciousness and seeds sometimes show no signs of their true potential although in the end they usually turn into rather magnificent creations.