Why Do Spiritual Practice During the Full Moon? | Article

Yoga Sadhana During Purnima

The Buddha was born under the full moon, gained enlightenment under the full moon, gave his first sermon under the full moon and passed away into Mahaparinibbana on the full moon. Many noble beings choose the full moon as an important marker stone for their life events. But why? What makes this mysterious glowing orb so important for our life energies? In these modern times, we have lost connection to the cycles of natural patterns, giving them up for modernization, technology and the space between four walls. This has been one of the greatest losses for all humankind – the loss of our own inner buddhi (wisdom), reflected by nature herself.
Luckily, the energies are always there for us to revive and regain. The full moon is an important time to practice our sadhana (spiritual practice) and tapas (austerities). Known as purnima in sanskrit, this time of the month is when the subtle doorways between the material and spiritual open wide. During purnima, the sun, earth and moon are in an exact straight line, allowing for maximum reflection of the sun’s rays. The increased inflow of both solar and lunar energies (ida and pingala) presents an opportunity to consciously use the power of our sadhana to access higher levels of consciousness thru our very own human body (chakras). In turn, the brilliant light of the sun and moon shower their joyful blessings on the material plane.
During the waxing phase of the moon (between new moon and full moon), the subtle tamas-rajas (dullness/darkness-energy/passion) frequency decreases. If we are immersed in sadhana on the full moon day, the harmful effects of our samskharas (deep-rooted habit patterns) and kleshas (mental afflictions) are greatly reduced. These negativites are what cover the inner light of wisdom. Therefore, during the waning phase of the moon when tamas and rajas are high, we can use our new found spiritual potency to combat negative influences contributed by the darkening of the light of the moon. The practice of austerity during the full moon is a very old tradition, practiced by Hindus, Jains, Buddhists and other spiritual lineages. This is a time for undertaking vows, prayers, as well as offerings to the ancestors and divine beings.
Special full moons include Buddha Purnima (May) and Guru Purnima (June). The first marks the day when the Buddha was enlightened, and the second the birth of Rishi Vyasa (the compiler of the great Mahabharata, or as some of you are more familiar with, the Bhagavad Gita). Guru Purnima also marks the day when we set our minds and hearts in deep reverence and gratitude to all our teachers. Gu represents the darkness, and Ru the dispeller of that darkness.
There are many ways to facilitate the energy during the full moon. Some recommendations are listed below:
    • Undertaking practices such as yoga, pranayama, chanting, meditation, attending or listening to satsang (spiritual discourse), studying spiritual scriptures, contemplation and prayer are very important during this time
    • Keeping only a liquid fast or water fast until evening time helps the mind to retain its sattva (illuminative) state for more insights and clarity to reign during this day.
    • The lighting of a diya is a very important practice that ties us to the purifying qualities of the fire element. When we light a diya, we are invoking the presence of the guru (internal or external) to come to our aid in dispelling our ignorance, as well as sending the vibration of good wishes towards all beings. Best if you make your own diya by filling ghee/oil in a vessel, submerging a wick of cotton in it, and lighting it.
    • Being with the elements and the moon herself can remind us the natural rhythm of life itself, and our place in this beautiful universe. The natural world helps us to dissolve our asmita (false sense of I), and inhabit a quality of reverence to the great mystery.
    • Silence during the full moon time will help one listen to the inner voice, the voice that whispers the truth eternal.
    • You can offer flowers, a diya or anything of value to you to photos of important people in your life. The connection between you and your ancestors, you and your Gurus, are ones that are subtle and unbrokem thru time and space.
    • Modern life has made us dependent on social media for validation of our inner self. This distorted value system causes immense pain and suffering without even us consciously often realising it. Take a day off to practice pratyahara, withdrawal of all your senses from distractions to your inner nature.
    • Full moon energies are about personal manifestation. Creativity isn’t a gift of some, but a birthright of all human beings. If your being calls you to, then create according to your own inner nature.
    • Full moon time is ideal for planting new seeds in the ground as water absorption is at its maximum. Caring and planting for another being helps to place one in the spirit of sraddha or devotion.
    • If it is possible for you to submerge in a body of water, or even taking a bath at this time can be very fruitful to feel the cleansing and rejuvenating aspects of water element. Also, you can place drinking water in a glass container outside to be charged by the moon energy.
    • Tantra teaches us that we must weave the material with the spiritual. That is why making sure the place where you reside is clean, pure and conducive to peace, harmony and beauty is very important to infuse the mind with sattvic qualities – especially the place where you do your sadhana. Dusting, washing, and lighting incense (such as sage, sandalwood, myrrh, frankincense and palo santo) can help to purify your space energetically, giving one’s being a resetting for the next 28 day cycle.
    • Sometimes the purnima asks us to just stop from the madness of our own running and bondage. Do not force yourself to do everything spiritual because you feel you must, but only if you feel drawn to do them. Resting one’s mind and body is of utmost importance to create a new pathway into the future.

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