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Why do we take rest on full moon and new moon days?
The answer to this question is not super simple. There are different reasons, and they are valid in different ways. The main schools of thought are as follows:
1. Because our bodies are affected by the lunar cycle. We take rest on the full moon in order to avoid injury and on the new moon to honor the natural grounding energy we have at that time.
2. Because in the Vedic tradition, rituals would often take place on new and full moon days and as a result, schools (like where Guruji studied) were closed on those days. Guruji continued this tradition when he began teaching yoga.
3. Because we need mandated days off, otherwise we get too attached to the practice.
There’s a really great blog post at the Ashtanga Yoga Library that outlines these reasons and more, with quotes from some of the greats.
And for some balance, check out this article at Scientific American examining (and attempting to debunk) the idea that people are crazy on the full moon. Interesting stuff. And the comments are actually worth reading too– there are some intriguing theories and counter-theories on the subject.