Astronomical Calculations

Several of you have been inquiring about how to choose the day to forego asana practice in observance of the full and new moons.

Full and new moon are astronomical events. They happen out there in space when the Sun, Moon and Earth come into these two alignments.  Since all three are moving objects (although they may move in ellipses and change speeds), they don’t hang out there in their ‘poses’ for a few breaths like we do in our yoga poses.  They keep moving!

The perfect alignment of a full moon, for example, only lasts an instant. I am guessing that it is like some crazy-small fraction of a second. But you get the point, it happens at some given moment in time.

The moment of the event in space is one, but the time and date at that moment around the Earth varies.  That moment in time could be night New York and day in Istanbul. It  could be Thursday in California and Friday in India.  Now you see why new and full moon days can be observed on different dates in different places around the globe.

A common reason for confusion about this is that instead of finding out the moment of the event in local time, people may just copy a list of moon days from some other yoga school’s site on the internet. But that other school may be on another continent, or may have copied it from the site of another studio in a different time zone.

There are many sources on the internet that give the day and time (usually in UT – Universal Time) of full moon and new moon. Major newspapers, such as the New York Times, also list this information in local time. What I do is take the chart at the above link and add two hours because Istanbul is two hours ahead of UT (during daylight  savings time, otherwise it is three hours ahead) and I have the time of the event of the full or new moon.

If the local time of that event falls toward the end of a day, say after 10pm (23:00), I may put the moon day on the following day. Particularly for New Moon Days. Otherwise, our studio is closed the calendar date on which the astronomical event falls.


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