Awaken Your Senses During the Spring Supermoon

The Super-Worm-Moon is on the rise! A Supermoon refers to a full moon that coincides with the point in the Moon’s orbit where it’s closest to Earth. According to the official astrological definition, any full moon or new moon that comes to within 224,865 miles of us, as measured from the centers of the moon and the Earth, can be called a Supermoon. 

March’s full moon is known as the Worm Moon—because the earth is finally soft enough for earthworms to be active—and it reaches peak fullness at 1:48 pm Eastern time on Monday, March 9. Through a telescope, a Supermoon appears both larger and brighter than a typical full moon, though you might not notice that when viewing it with the naked eye. This year, we have one Supermoon for each month of spring—the next two are on April 8 and May 7.

This month's Supermoon comes less than two weeks before another seasonal event measured by the heavenly bodies: the spring equinox on March 20. The equinox marks a moment of perfect balance, when the hours of daylight are exactly equal to the hours of darkness. The spring equinox pinpoints the transition from winter to spring—in our minds and on the calendar, at least. In North America, wintry weather may continue for another few weeks, but the sunshine is warmer, the earth begins to soften, and the fresh, loamy scent of the new season penetrates even the cooler days.

Here’s how you can savor the beauty of the skies and the season this spring, using all five senses.

Sight: Welcome in the light.

“Shake out the winter—open the windows, and let in the light and fresh air,” says Micah Mortali, Director of Outdoor Education and Programming and Founder of the Kripalu School of Mindful Outdoor Leadership. “Spring is the perfect time to detox and declutter,” adds Kripalu Yoga teacher Sarajean Rudman.

Check out Sarajean's recommendations for creating more clarity in your home and your life.

It’s also the season, Micah says, for practices that clear space for inner light and insight: fiery pranayama like Kapalabhati and Agni Sera; challenging hikes; and vigorous yoga flows. (Kapalabhati is a great antidote for seasonal allergies that come with mucous congestion.)

“Practicing Moon Salutation, Sun Salutation, or any kind of vinyasa flow can provide the cleansing your body craves this time of year,” says Kripalu Schools faculty member Michelle Dalbec.

Taste: Eat lightly and eat green.

In the winter months, we naturally gravitate toward sweet, sour, oily, and salty foods to mitigate the dry, light qualities of the cold season, says Erin Casperson, Dean of the Kripalu School of Ayurveda. “Now’s the time to replace those heavy foods with foods that are pungent, bitter, astringent, dry, and light,” says Erin. “It’s time to reset the digestion and cleanse out the weight of the winter.”

This happened naturally in North American agricultural societies, Micah notes, because spring was the time when people ran out of stored food and were forced to fast. The arrival of the first wild edibles, like dandelion greens and ramps, marked the beginning of the season of abundance.

To lighten up in spring, Erin advises, choose lighter foods like kale and collards; dandelion, spinach, and mustard greens; strawberries, cherries, and blueberries; fresh green peas; and grains such as barley, quinoa, and millet.

Read more about how to eat in spring, according to Ayurveda.

Hearing: Tune in to birdsong.

Nature meditation is a foundational practice taught in the Kripalu School of Mindful Outdoor Leadership. And you can practice it with your eyes open, as you take in all the signs of life around you. In the spring, flashes of winged color and snippets of birdsong are perhaps the most prominent harbingers of the changing season.

“The animals we see most often when we’re outdoors are the birds,” Micah says. “They will show themselves to us, especially if we sit still. We get to see their beauty, hear their calls, and learn their patterns of activity.”

You can even get to know individual birds if you pay close attention. Once they’ve built their nests, birds will stay close by for the duration of the season. “It was awesome when I realized that the robin I saw today is the same robin I’ll see tomorrow and next week,” Micah says. “It’s an individual being, and recognizing that is powerful in terms of avoiding what’s known as ‘species loneliness.’”

Learn how to cultivate self-compassion through birding.

Smell and Touch: Savor new life and new growth.

“This is the time of year that inspires awe and gratitude for the renewal of life,” says Micah. To enhance your awareness of the season’s gifts, practice mindfulness with your senses of touch and smell as well as sight and sound. Smell the spring flowers, take in the rich scent of fertile soil, touch the soft petal of a snowdrop, and run your hand over the bark of a maple tree, visualizing the movement of sap through its trunk. 

“As the days grow longer and warmer, I say a prayer of gratitude for having made it safely through the storms, and then I bid Old Man Winter goodbye and greet spring with enthusiasm, as if we’re meeting for the first time,” says Kevin “Moose” Foran, Kripalu’s Grounds Supervisor for more than 30 years. “Spring reminds us to pause and savor the mysteries of the moment while we watch the inner and outer blossoming of life.”

Browse nature and outdoor programs at Kripalu.