Full Moon Bath
If you have read any of my previous blogs you might have noticed that I tend to intertwine stories from my life with a concept or idea, and a sprinkle of a resource or some tips around mindfulness, self-care, and wellness.
The term self-care sort of seems like a buzzword, a fad or trendy thing to do, and yet the reason it is mentioned so often is because of its sheer importance. The sad thing is that so many people have little to no self-care in their lives, resulting in poor physical and mental health. Self-care is especially important for mom’s who give so much love and attention to others, and sometimes struggle to find the time and energy to nurture themselves. Make no mistake, just because I am here preaching of the many benefits, I too have my challenges in this department, regularly I have to remind myself it’s all a practice, we live and we learn, we fall down and we grow.
It dawned on me recently that none of the self-care information that I have shared thus far has been too specific, and thus this blog will be a more detailed suggestion for a deeply relaxing, yogic, self-care practice. It will be a little more spiritual woo-woo in nature if that sort of thing isn’t for you-you; simply do what feels right to you and make it your own.
But first, a little storytelling...
Last night was the Full Cold Moon. The last full moon of the year and the first of the winter, coming just a day after the Winter Solstice, this moon was a powerhouse, bringing the energy and light for us to expand into greater professional and personal potential. In fact, all full moons bring the opportunity to shine the light on our shadow parts, our unconscious beliefs, and allow space for our awareness to increase so that we may learn to accept, heal, and release emotional and energetic blockages. Last night and for the next few nights, it is the perfect time to reflect on your desires, explore goals and declare what direction you want to move in. The Winter, in general, is a fabulous time to get quiet and slow down, release old thought patterns and heal wounds, so that you can focus more on what you want and need. We are meant to slow down and harmonize, align ourselves with the stillness and darkness that winter brings, and in doing so we have the opportunity to regenerate/restore our energy, stoke our inner light so that we are ready to shine when spring arrives. How contrary the busyness of the holiday season is to the slower rhythm of Winter, is it any wonder so many people report feeling overwhelmed and stressed this time of year?
Last night I had my heart set on attending the Full Moon Sound Bath and Meditation at Flote. Honestly, I could write a whole other blog about this event and Flote which in my opinion is a treasure, a real healing sanctuary in the seacoast area.
Anyway, I was all signed up, after missing this event for many months, everything finally aligned for me to bask in the beauty of the sound and moon energy, and then life happened. A freak accident resulted in my husband being anchored to the couch with his leg elevated. Obviously, I couldn’t leave him injured and helpless to care for Leif, so I hit cancel on the sound bath, and played nurse for my temporarily disabled husband; he even let me treat him with essential oils and CBD for his pain but I digress.
I could have stewed in disappointment, given up on my desire to revel in the moon energy and abandon practicing much-needed self-care; but it’s just too important and I am working on staying committed to practices that bring me a sense of balance and well-being. I am trying to stay accountable to myself, follow-through without any external supports which seems to come much easier than going it alone. So I forged my own Full Moon bath and meditation, which I will now share that with you and invite you to give it a try.
Bathing in the light of the Full Moon (based on Vedic practices)
Vedic traditions believe that the full moon is a very powerful time for women, full of opportunity; and that living in harmony with the cycles of the moon is key to our beauty, sensuality, health, and vitality.
Before drawing an actual bath in my tub, I bathed myself in the light of the moon. For this, I chose to actually go outside and stand barefoot on the earth gazing at the moon, I wanted to truly embrace the cold of this moon and let its light fall directly on my skin. I spent this time in meditation, deeply breathing the brisk winter air while setting intentions. However, you could also find a window from within the warmth of your house to view the moon while cultivating your intentions. In Vedic tradition this is known as “moon basking” and it was often done in groups of women, so maybe next full moon I will gather all my hippie, yogi, woo-woo loving friends and we can bask together (you know who you are.)
After twenty minutes or so, I returned inside to complete the next phase of my ritual.
My full moon bath was adapted from the book Women’s Power to Heal Through Inner Medicine by Maya Tiwari, in which she writes “ Water is a conductor of awareness; it takes on different forms to help us heal. It has the ability to respond to the highest and lowest of intentions. When we are clear in our intention to nourish, nurture, and heal, water becomes the Goddess instrument of lightness and can collect our disturbed emotions and cleanse them through its fluid vibrations-- bathing then becomes a spiritual act.” Um yes, please! I mean whether you consider yourself spiritual or not perhaps we can all agree that taking a bath relaxes you, relieves stress, supports you in processing emotions whether you are conscious of it or not. It can also be extremely helpful in the sleep department, helping prepare your body and mind to settle down and ease into slumber.
The suggested practice of a Full Moon Bath that I performed included incorporating organic herbs and essential oils, in what is called an “herbal bolus.” I made mine with cheesecloth as a wrap and the combination of ½ a palm full of dried rose petals, ½ a palm full of dried raspberry leaves and 12-15 drops of lavender essential oil. After tying the herbs and oil inside the cloth you simply drop it into the warm water and allow it to soak for 5 minutes or so prior to entering. During this waiting time, I practiced another Ayurvedic self-care called Abhyanga, in simple terms- self-massage. For more information on how to practice Abhyanga and why you can click here.
Another component of this practice is to cleanse your hands and make an offering to the goddess and repeat the Sankalpa (sacred intention) “Unto You, I sprinkle water” prior to entering the water. Again, if this is way beyond the realm of your spirituality and your just ready to bathe, by all means just soak yourself, Mama.
Needless to say, I completed the proposed practice as suggested.
This practice suggests soaking in still meditation with your intentions for as long as you like.
Where I took the liberty of adapting the practice was in the bath. Here I decided to incorporate a yoga practice, simple postures that I could access within the confines of my bathtub. Though it is considered a “cold practice” and I was submerged in a hot bath, I opted for Yin Yoga, from the perspective of approaching each pose with a non-striving, accepting mindset. Instead of working or effort-ing to find a deeper stretch, I relaxed into each pose, allowing the buoyancy of the water and the walls of the tub to support the poses. My sequence was as follows:
Supported legs up the wall
Figure four, also known as reclined pigeon
Sphinx (This was a little tricky and might not be accessible based on tub size or receptiveness of body)
Seated twist ( Mariachi twist)
Supta Baddha Konasana- this was my Savasana
Stay tuned for pictures, no not of me bathing, of the poses! Though I did consider hiring a photographer to capture this routine being that I am working on self-acceptance and vulnerability, I decided there are other ways of going about that. In the meantime, if you are unfamiliar with these poses and you want to try this routine, perhaps you can reference good old google.
I stayed in each pose for about 2-3 minutes or so, holding the final pose for about 10 minutes. My intention in each pose was to allow for very mild sensation while encouraging my muscles to soften and relax, I found the fluidity and soft quality of the water to be supportive of this approach, and focusing on feeling the water moving around my body was quite soothing. After settling in I allowed myself to just be
So there you have it, my Full Moon Bath. Perhaps you might give it a try? It can be any variation of what I shared here that suits you, the most important aspect of any self-care practice is that you have one! And hopefully whatever you do for yourself it happens more regularly than just on the full moon.
Oh, I should also mention that it is suggested that you practice this bath on the night of the full moon and for three days after, so I guess its time for me to go take another one of these amazing baths, so, bub-byeeeeeee!