Why Ashtangis Take Rest on Moon Days

In the Ashtanga lineage, moon days are like little mini-holidays. We don’t practice and instead, take rest. It’s kind of like a PA day for Ashtangis. A free day to rest, rejuvenate, and really do whatever you want.

But taking rest on Moon Days isn’t random, and there’s a reason why we these rest days have been built into the traditional Ashtanga system.

Guruji used to say, “two ‘planets’ [grahas] one place, very dangerous.”

On the days of the full and new moon, the sun and moon are aligned in such a manner that they exert a greater gravitational force on the planet. This energetic force affects us as human beings and can impact our practice both mentally and physically, which is why we take rest.

As human beings, we are comprised of about 70% water. And all things water are affected by the phases of the moon.

So how do these phases have an effect on us?

According to Tim Miller, the full moon corresponds to the inhalation force of prana.

“This is an expansive, upward moving force that makes us feel energetic and emotional, but not well grounded. The Upanishads state that the main prana lives in the head. During the full moon, we tend to be more headstrong.”

During the days leading up to the full moon, I personally feel my own energy building up. My practice usually feels really intense, and I feel the urge to challenge myself more in my asana’s. But I also feel like my energy is all over the place. It’s like a can’t fully reign it in.

It’s also been speculated that the likelihood of injuring yourself during a full moon is increased as a result of this intense energy.

New moon energy, as Tim Miller states, “corresponds with the end of exhalation when the force of Apana is greatest. Apana is a contracting, downward moving force that makes us feel calm and grounded, but dense and disinclined toward physical movement.”


Have you ever noticed that around the new moon you might feel more sluggish, tired, and lethargic?

I sure do. On some new moons, you might feel introspective, reflective, and calm. While during other new moons you may feel completely disengaged.

Whenever I feel myself getting lazy and tired, I look to my AYCT moon day calendar, and low and behold a new moon is on the horizon. And whenever I feel myself getting overly emotional, ungrounded, and a little cray-cray, sure enough, a full moon is comin’!

I think what’s really interesting about honoring these energetic forces as Ashtangis, is that you get to observe how they directly affect you.

“Practicing Ashtanga Yoga over time makes us more attuned to natural cycles. Observing moon days is one way to recognize and honor the rhythms of nature so we can live in greater harmony with it.” – Tim Miller

I think that honoring these moon days is a beautiful ritual, and I’ve experienced first hand the effect that the full and new moons have on my body and mind.

But all the energetic stuff aside, when you practice 6 days a week, having an extra rest day is pretty friggin’ awesome! It gives you an opportunity to stay up a little bit later. To eat that (obviously vegan) pizza you’ve been craving. And maybe, just maybe have a beer (or 3).

As a write this there is a new moon around the corner. So tell me, how do you celebrate your moon days? Share in the comments section below! And of course, have a happy Moon Day 🙂

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Melissa Singh


  1. Kalyani on July 11, 2018 at 6:36 pm

    Miss you all!! Hopefully will see you soon!

    • Melissa Singh on July 17, 2018 at 3:09 pm

      We miss you too! See you soon <3

  2. Tanja Roennov on July 12, 2018 at 5:25 am

    I think that the new Moon/ full Moon explanation is a load of nonsens. First of all neither the Sun or the moon are planets. How can it be that Guruji did not know that? But astrology is not a form of science anyway, so maybe that is why he didn’t know the difference.
    If you need an extra days rest, just be honest with your self, don’t wrap it up in mumbo jumbo.
    By the way…there is no evidence that the full Moon effects humans. Your personal expirience is just an anecdote or confirmation bias.
    I think we need more facts in ashtanga yoga and not listen to old wifes tales.

  3. John Virag on July 12, 2018 at 6:16 am

    Thanks, now there is a reference point for all my non ashtanga friends as well who ask me why not on a moon day? And I usually get a reaction that we are made up mostly of water and the moon controls the tides as well…makes sense that there is an impact!

  4. JOHN PIZZOLATO on July 12, 2018 at 6:43 am

    I practice pranayama and take walks. I need to be mindful the walks don’t turn into a practice (ie. deep stretching to replicate the sensation of my practice) and just walk. Namaste

  5. Lisa Vegh on July 13, 2018 at 6:58 am

    I’ve never had such a thorough explanation to this question. Now I’ll pay attention more to how this affects my practice. Thank you.

  6. Romina on July 13, 2018 at 8:39 am

    I just do my pranayama and rest 🙂

  7. Kelley on July 29, 2018 at 2:17 pm

    You rock Mel

  8. Hannah on March 5, 2019 at 7:15 pm

    Great sharing! Thank you. Ancient wisdom is absolutely fascinating. Although I am a yoga beginner, and have not yet experienced the “connection with nature”, I believe in the knowledge and power of the nature. 🙂

    • Melissa Singh on March 19, 2019 at 4:13 am

      So glad you enjoyed! Yes, I definitely feel this connection takes time, but it is such a special thing to experience.

  9. vansh on September 20, 2020 at 5:15 am

    how to get a accurate calender of moon phases i checked out online but your calender and that one have diffrence of days
    your calender is correct or that one i get online??

    • AYCT Team on September 20, 2020 at 9:08 am

      You calculate Moondays at the following link: https://www.timeanddate.com/astronomy/
      Just put in your location and the year. And it will show you the moondays of where you live.