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For the more spiritual among us, you may avoid practicing yoga during a full moon. Or you may find it beneficial to fast during a new moon. You may even go as far as channeling strength with ‘eagle’ pose during Winter Solstice or energy with a ‘sun salutation’ during Summer Solstice.
Whatever your home practice looks like, you probably have felt the strong connection between yoga and earth and moon cycles. Understanding the patterns of astronomy will help you enjoy the healing benefits of yoga, particularly for those who like to include chanting and mantra repetition in their yoga practice.
One of the most extraordinary times to practice yoga is during a solar eclipse and with just two solar eclipses taking place in a year (and out of view from most parts of the world), planning ahead is important for anyone wanting to harness the power of the sun- and moon's alignment with the earth. See a timeline of the next 38 solar eclipses happening in the next 60 years. There are viewing locations all around the world, so this could be the perfect time to plan your next yoga getaway.
Here are the yoga poses you will need to know for your home practice solar eclipse experience. If you are familiar with 'kali mudra', you could incorporate this while practicing each pose to channel the fierce goddess Durga.
1. Standing Backbend
Mimic the partial eclipse with this anxiety and back pain curing pose. Other great poses that include a backbend movement are ‘cobra’ and ‘upward facing dog.’ These movements can increase your body’s resilience, give you a youthful boost, and improve problems with chronic or acute anxiety. Just make sure you warm up your back area with a few sun salutations to ensure you have fully stretched to avoid injury.
This a great transitional pose and if you take it into ‘crescent lunge’, you can effectively stretch out your legs, groin, and hip flexors, improving your body's flexibility, whilst also toning your butt and thighs. Incorporating breath control with this simple pose will also open up your chest and shoulders.
3. Warrior 3
Photo Credit: Gary
For yogis adept in balance, this is a superb pose to celebrate the solar eclipse as it helps to channel your inner warrior and work out your core muscles. But having great balance is key, so beginners may need to practice before attempting it in their sequence. A great tip is to establish the correct footing before liftoff. If you can achieve this, benefits include strengthening of the back, buttocks, shoulders, hamstrings, calves, and ankles.
4. Half Moon
There is a huge connection between ‘half moon’ and the sun and moon cycles, making it a wonderful pose to practice for the solar eclipse. You can move through a vinyasa, transition easily into another pose, or follow straight from ‘warrior 3’ for the perfect flow of energy. This pose is all about building leg and ankle strength, as well as loosening stiff muscles and tendons across the leg.
End your sequence with this calming and healing pose. The reason it’s such a great way to finish, is because when it’s executed well, it can activate all the major muscles in your body. You can benefit from a full body stretch, opening up your chest and back, and boosting everything from your respiratory system to your digestion. For beginners attempting this move, it’s best to only hold for 20 seconds to avoid muscle strain or injury.
Try incorporating these five poses into your home practice on the next solar eclipse and experience the enhanced benefits at that special moment in time. You may find yourself becoming more and more aware of the cycles all around you and able to sync yourself with them to find more balance in your life and yoga practice.