Good moon rising

Full moon yoga

Yoga instructor Kim Lenzi salutes the moon.

Yoga instructor Kim Lenzi salutes the moon.

Photo By D. Brian Burghart

Mind Body & Pilates, 670 Alvaro St., just off West Seventh St. There are a variety of classes and times. Visit or call 745-4151.

I made a neat discovery this weekend for those of the soulful yoga persuasion: Kim Lenzi of Mind Body & Pilates hosts a full-moon yoga practice near nights of the full moon. Actually, I made a few personal discoveries. First was Lenzi herself. I guess I should have checked her out earlier, as she won Best Yoga Instructor in our annual Biggest Little Best of Northern Nevada readers’ poll last year. She has a doctorate in psychology and a master’s certificate in gerontology, so she’s well educated. But more than that, she has a kind, humorous and patient personality that made it a pleasure to work with her, particularly for a guy like me, who hasn’t been doing his yoga regularly.

The second thing I discovered was that there’s a different flavor to yoga done outdoors. I’ve never practiced outside. Not because I had anything against the idea, it just never came about. I like it. Sometimes outside noises are a distraction in indoor studios, but outside, the wind through the trees, the birds singing, people talking—even the traffic—are part of the charm. The unevenness of the ground below bare feet makes balance more challenging, but I felt a different kind of connection to the Earth.

The plan was for people to meet at Mind Body & Pilates on Sunday at 7:15 p.m., and then caravan up to Rancho San Rafael, parking our cars on Washington Street to avoid having them locked into the park. Lenzi showed me around the studio, including a tour of the Pilates area, with all its torturous-looking specialty equipment. Most of the regulars had called off for the evening—too much going on this weekend. Another called to say she was going to be a bit late. So it was just Lenzi and me.

We headed up to Rancho and found a congenial spot where there wasn’t any goose poop. We oriented ourselves basically north and south, so the setting sun wouldn’t be in anyone’s eyes. Essentially, we were going to do six moon salutations, the first four with Lenzi explaining the series and the asanas, and then the last two were going to be silent, with me essentially doing my best to keep up.

“This is your practice,” she said. “If you miss one [a posture], it’s OK, that’s how it was meant to be.”

Now, alert readers will notice two problems: the full moon was Friday, and the moon wasn’t going to rise until 9:35 or so. We weren’t worried about that, although I think in the future, she plans to start the class in time to coincide with moonrise.

I’ve never done the moon salutation (Chandra Namaskara) before, but my research shows there are many variations on the sequence. As Lenzi performs it, it contains a lot of gentle stretching, forward and back bends, and only a few strength and balance poses, like the half moon. This works with the “philosophy” of the sequence, as it’s not supposed to be an energizer, but a relaxant to clear the mind for restful sleep. Lenzi did suggest a bath before bed to aid in the mellowing down.

For the first postures, she adjusted my body, showing me generally the correct spinal alignment and reminding me to bring my shoulders down. She offered advice on how to maintain balance, encouragement, and the locations of stretches. Two more people showed up about midway through, integrating into the circle. We completed the last two sequences in silence.

Savasana, the corpse pose and meditation, was delightful in the outdoor setting. But even my corpse pose required adjustment, and Lenzi adjusted my feet, neck and shoulders. The meditation felt deeper for the changes. I came away thinking that I could make a habit of monthly full moon stretches with Kim Lenzi.