As in other world traditions Ashtanga gives special attention to the day of the Full and New Moons. Energy runs strong at these times, and supports more devotional and subtle practices. So these days are generally considered to be a 'day off' from asana practice. Most larger Ashtanga schools do not hold classes on these days. At Shakti Sharanam, regularly scheduled classes are held and the time is utilized for theory, satsang, chanting or restorative practice. In Crestone, there is also a traditional fire ceremony conducted at the Haidakhandi Universal Ashram on these days.
Ladies Moon Days
Or 'Ladies Holiday', refers to women's menstruation time. During bleeding time, energy demands a downward flow. Since the Ashtanga techniques cultivate an upward flow, practice is contra-indicated during this time. Generally three days off, but this certainly varies for individuals. This 'down time' is not unique to Ashtanga, most other spiritual traditions follow similar protocol.
Again, since the asana practice cultivates an upward flow of energy, and digestion/elimination demands a downward energy, it is best to practice with empty bowls and bladder. Ideally, 3-4 hours is allowed after a meal, but it is important to hydrate in between practice times. However, avoid drinking right before or during class.
During practice, toxins are being eliminated through all of our organs including our skin. Hence, bathing before practice is important (not to mention in courtesy to other practitioners and teachers). As an added curtesy to those who follow a Sattvic lifestyle, abstinence from garlic, onion, meats, marijuana and alcohol before attending class will always be appreciated.