Are you getting ready for an epic moon event on Sunday? Overnight from Sunday, Jan. 20 into Monday, Jan. 21, millions of people in North and South America will have a prime view of a total lunar eclipse. During a special nocturnal hour, the full moon will become fully tinted with the red-orange color of sunset! The Jan. 21 total lunar eclipse will be the last one until May 2021. During an eclipse, the rays of the sun are obstructed from shining on the earth. During a solar eclipse, the moon passes between the earth and sun, preventing the sun’s rays from shining on the earth. And during a lunar eclipse, the moon passes through the earth’s shadow, so it cannot reflect the sun’s rays back onto the earth. So, this is a time of greater darkness and less light. On the physical level, the atmosphere loses the benefit of certain beneficial, healing rays. There is more of a negative vibration in the atmosphere.

On the more subtle level, the moon outside corresponds to the mind of the individual, and what happens to the moon has an influence over the mind. When the moon is full, the mind, also, is in full swing— whatever tendencies or emotions are in the mind get enhanced. Any imbalance would be magnified. So during a lunar eclipse, the mind is full and at the same time there is less light and more negative vibration in the atmosphere. So it is best to spend that time in sattvic (calm, clear, and balanced state of mind and body), uplifting activities, such as meditation, prayer, and chanting. You don’t want to sleep at that time because the mind will go into a tamasic (dull, lazy confused state), and on a subtle level, it can be affected.

Swami Satchidananda has given a list of guidelines to his Yoga students to enable them to keep their bodies and minds in a sattvic state during these times. He said that it’s even better to chant than simply meditate in order to keep the mind awake, alert, and sattvic.

What to Do During an Eclipse According to Swami Satchidananda

1. Activities: You shouldn’t be doing anything in which you could hurt yourself physically or mentally. It’s good to spend that time in prayer and meditation; that will help to keep the mind in a sattvic condition. Stay indoors if you can during a major solar eclipse, and it’s ideal not to sleep during the time of a lunar eclipse. By doing these things, you would keep the mind in a sattvic condition and not hurt yourself in any way.

2. Fasting: It’s preferable to fast on that day (or at least at supper, or eat very lightly at supper). During the eclipse, at least, the stomach should be empty.

3. Leftover food: Swami Satchidananda advised to not keep leftover cooked food in the house. It’s ideal to plan ahead so you won’t have cooked leftovers that you have to throw out at that time. If you have leftovers that would be too wasteful to discard, you could put charcoal in the refrigerator to help absorb any negative energy.