I went to a Full Moon meditation, and I bawled my eyes out on the mat
About a month ago, I was getting ready to go on a nine-day-long trip with my partner. We live in Los Angeles now but are both originally from back east, so we decided to take a road trip to a few east coast cities to see if we might like to move back someday. I was anxious about the trip; I’ve spent the last eight years in L.A. and while this place has never felt like home, the idea of making a full-on, cross-country move again — and this time with a small, elderly dog — was daunting. So when I heard about a Full Moon meditation happening at Hyperslow, a yoga studio and café in my neighborhood, I was drawn to it: Could this meditation help me gain clarity and go into this trip with an open mind?
The studio graciously allowed me to attend, and on March 31st, I arrived at Hyperslow clutching my mat and a pair of wool socks (for my chronically chilly feet). I didn’t know what to expect, since in addition to the guided meditation, we’d be experiencing a sound bath. So I tried to go in without expectations.
To be honest, I’m a skeptical person — I’m a journalist, so it’s basically my job to be. And though I’ve practiced yoga my whole life, I had doubts about how much a Full Moon meditation and sound bath would really affect me.
“If nothing else, I’ll feel super relaxed and go home and have a nice sleep,” I told myself.
But girl, was I wrong.
At first, as I lay there in the near-darkness wrapped in a wool blanket and following along with the guided breath work, I found my mind wandering; I couldn’t focus and clear my thoughts as you’re supposed to during meditation, which drove me crazy (hello, perfectionism, my old friend).
But there was a Reiki master in the room (a kind of energy healer) and as she sat behind me and placed her hands just above my forehead, a felt a hot, tingling feeling envelop my face. My mind cleared, and when she eventually broke away, I wanted to reach out for her and say thank you.
Moments later, as we were ramping up to the sound bath portion of the evening, we did a breathing exercise that involved exhaling all of our breath with a loud vocalization. Basically, inhaling through the noise and exhaling with a yell.
The louder I got, the more my emotions came to the surface — and that’s when the tears started to flow.
The sound bath began — a D note vibrated out of a speaker and across the room, blending with the sounds of a rain stick and singing bowls — and I cried and cried.
And here’s what I discovered on the mat: I have a complicated relationship with my mother, and we haven’t spoken in a couple of years; this trip would mark my first visit to Toronto, my hometown, without seeing her. Though I’d done plenty of rational, frontal-lobe thinking about what that meant, I had no idea I was, subconsciously, holding onto so much pain and fear about my identity without my mother, and what my future as a (possible) mother myself would look like without her in it. During that Full Moon meditation, I was crying for my mom, for a mom, and realizing I’d never have the Lorelai and Rory Gilmore relationship of my dreams.
After my transformative experience, I asked El Larson, the sound practitioner who led the event, what Full Moon meditation is designed to achieve. She described my experience precisely.
"Sometimes it can be a very relaxing experience, sometimes it can be very intense — but in a self-realizing, 'I didn’t know I was holding on to so much ____ (fill in the blank)' way. The experience can change based on the person, their current state, the moon, etc. But in general, people feel more clear about themselves and their path and have released some stress, at the very least," she said.
Larson added, “Full Moons are illuminating and bring a lot of energy, which can be harnessed to make changes in life, or sometimes just needs to be released. The monthly Full Moon meditation helps focus energy around the theme of the moon (each moon is in a different zodiac sign) to help reveal and release old blocks and patterns people may have, and/or help them manifest their goals.”
Needless to say, I felt free of a blockage when I left Hyperslow that night — though I was sad and had a lot to think about, of course — and I definitely felt prepared to take our big trip.
Interested in attending a Full Moon meditation yourself? There’s one happening at Hyperslow this Sunday, April 29th, if you happen to be in the L.A. area.
If not, search around to see if something similar is being offered where you live. I promise, you’ll at least feel more relaxed than ever when you leave the mat.