Full Snow Moon, Lunar Eclipse + Valentine’s Yoga for Heart Health

The full moon arrives on Friday evening, February 10. It’s called the Snow Moon for reasons obvious to those living in the chilly Northern Hemisphere. There will be a widespread penumbral lunar eclipse, but the shadowy, visual effect will be subtle.

The moon is full close to 7:30 pm EST, which is after nightfall, with the penumbral eclipse almost at its peak. The best times to see the nearly full moon rise are on Wednesday and Thursday evening before sunset. Or see the moon set on Friday through the weekend mornings after sunrise.

Before and after exact fullness are optimal times to see the rising and setting moon near the horizon. That’s when it looks its most large and round with some atmospheric color.  On clear afternoons, the waxing moon can be seen in the southeastern sky all week.

Have you noticed that sunsets arrive later? Depending on your location, twilight comes nearly an hour later than after Thanksgiving. We currently gain close to two minutes of daylight per day. The low winter sun rises higher in the sky at midday. Valentine’s Day comes at just the right time to warm hearts with more sunshine.

Astrological Influences + Considerations

The lunar eclipse has astrological significance. Eclipses generally come in bimonthly pairs or trios that repeat in six months. This full moon and penumbral lunar eclipse is paired with a new moon and annular solar eclipse that follows in nearly two weeks.

Astrologically the February full moon is in Leo at 22 degrees (with the sun at 22 Aquarius). It’s connected to the coming total solar eclipse that will pass over the continental U.S. on August 21. That eclipse will be in Leo at 28 degrees. The degrees in the 20s of Leo/Aquarius are sensitized in 2017.

This precursory lunar eclipse could strongly affect individuals born in the middle of February, May, August or November. But perhaps your moon, ascendant or another important position is placed there (you might want to cast your chart or consult a trusted astrologer). If so, you likely will be strongly affected again in six months.

Since ancient times, seeing an eclipse has been considered an important omen. Because the August total solar eclipse passes over the U.S. (a rare and major event), closely conjuncts Donald Trump’s natal ascendant (at 29 Leo), and both eclipses make other important symbolic and visual intersections – including conjuncting/opposing the natal U.S. moon (at 26 Aquarius) – American life will be affected.

The effects of eclipses are felt for six months. It’s safe to say that there will be a tremendous shake-up in American life over the coming year (two six-month cycles). Opportunities will open for some, and there will be heated reactions to change and American leadership. With his fiery Leo ascendant affected, the president will be inclined to take matters personally and respond accordingly. Trump isn’t known for conflict avoidance.

Remember that you sometimes can’t control what happens to you. Politics are an excellent example of what may seem like minimal choice, perhaps even feeling powerless. But you can control how you react. Use the energy to benefit yourself, your family, and your community. Respond with authenticity and mindfulness.

For more on this moon phase and eclipse season, check the February 6 issue of Moonday, or provide comments or ask questions here, or below this post on Facebook. We would love to hear from you!

Feeling + Moving with the Moon

If the astrological stuff sounds heavy, shake it off with some heart opening yoga. Shine your yogi heart to the heavens in backbends for Valentine’s Day. Lighten up, breathe deep, and feel the love!

February’s full moon sign is Leo, which has a close relationship with anahata, the fourth chakra, associated with the shoulders, chest, diaphragm, lungs and heart. Women under stress often suffer from what Dr. Christiane Northrup refers to as “fourth chakra issues.” The stress of life demands, heartbreak and frustration, and not taking good care of ourselves with wellness activities – including eating right, regular exercise, relaxation, not smoking – can lead to problems with heart health.

In February many public information campaigns on heart health are offered, such as Go Red for Women. The American Heart Association and Centers for Disease Control are among the health organizations that state heart disease and stroke kill 1 in 4 women, more than all cancers combined. The #1 cause of mortality with no previous symptoms, almost two-thirds of sudden deaths of women are attributed to silent heart disease.

Yoga to the rescue! Yoga is a fitness activity that can be tailored for individual needs and growing ability. It’s suitable for most ages and body shapes. Yoga can be practiced in a 15 minute routine or spread out longer than an hour. Solo or in groups, indoors or out, yoga doesn’t require much more space than a mat.

Breathing techniques aid relaxation, respiration and circulation. At the end of practice, savasana soothes the nerves and alleviates stress. Take your mind off concerns for awhile and return refreshed. Perhaps you’ll lessen anger, regret, and other negative emotions. Your problem-solving ability and mood might be improved, which benefits your well-being and those close to you.

Valentine’s Day is associated with romantic love. But love finds expression within family roles and as compassion, friendship, caring for animals and the planet, and nurturing self-love. Caring and devotion can expand your loving heart for greater inner and world peace. Several times a day, hug a child, a friend, an animal, a tree, and give yourself healing hugs while practicing yoga.

Try meditating for loving-kindness, metta bhavana. Practice satsang, becoming part of a supportive community, and ahimsa, nonviolence and coping with aggression in many forms – “love in action.” Remove clutter, including feelings rooted in the past. Aparigraha means reducing hoarding, burdens and attachment. Create space for new possibilities and lighten the spirit.

The phases of the moon and seasonal change show us that every day is different and precious. Take a nature walk for cardio and mental fitness, and fill your lungs with fresh air. Take time to smell the flowers. Stay tuned this week for a Wise+Well feature on aromatherapy for opening the heart and maintaining its health. After all, it’s no secret that throughout history, aromas have been used to emotionally and physically care for our hearts.

Sending healing hearts, flowers, and hugs to you for Valentine’s Day!

On Wonderful Moon

For the next Wonderful Moon that posts in approximately two weeks, the new moon in Pisces and the year’s first of two solar eclipses will be discussed. The second lunation of 2017 ushers in spring and new beginnings.

Wonderful Moon is published bimonthly before the new and full moons. The focus is on viewing and experiencing the moon with lore, advice, and yoga-oriented body awareness that meshes with the phase, season, and astrological influences.

Photography:  Pink Full Moonset” (Dec. 4, 2013, probably taken the morning before) is by noted lunar and landscape photographer Greg Diesel Walck, from his Facebook album, Cover Photos, photo shot in Greenville, SC.

Sphinx Yoga
Written by Sphinx Yoga
A longtime yogi and night sky gazer, Wendy Sphinx has published Moonday and Sphinx Yoga for two years. She lives in NC and finishes 200-hour yoga teacher training this spring. Although she’s been exposed to many flavors of yoga, her current practice is Dharma-focused, which is where she began her journey many years and moons ago. She earned a doctorate in journalism from UNC-Chapel Hill, master’s and graduate women’s studies certificate at Duke, and undergraduate degree in writing and literature from NYU, with a summer session in science at Oxford University in the UK. A communications professor for 20 years, she has worked professionally in journalism, marketing and public relations since the 1980s. Her grandmother was an astrologer, and she grew up reading horoscopes and looking at the moon, planets, and stars through a backyard telescope. The Sphinx’s bimonthly column, Wonderful Moon, draws on this background to share lore, advice, and timely yoga tips for the new and full moon phases. Information on observing the moon is combined with astrological insights, consideration of nature and seasonal change, and the cycles of our lives. Beautiful lunar photography is provided by award-winning photographer and author Greg Diesel Walck.