Sections of this text seem in The Yoga Almanac: 52 Practices and Rituals to Keep Grounded By means of the Astrological Seasons, March 2020, New Harbinger Publications. Reprinted with permission: New Harbinger Publications, Inc. © 2020 Lisette Cheresson & Andrea Rice.
We’ve virtually made it by means of one other calendar 12 months — and the vitality of adventurous Sagittarius is upon us to remind us of any final essential duties or needs we’re hoping to satisfy as we encounter the winter solstice. Operating from November 21 or 22 of yearly proper till winter formally begins on December 21 or 22, Sagittarius season asks us to start to take inventory of the place we’ve been, so we might put together to take purpose at the place we’re going. It’s a season that encompasses the start of the vacations — a frenetic time of 12 months once we might really feel pulled in a number of instructions. Sagittarius’s vitality reminds us of the independence of our private wants, at the same time as we are likely to these round us.
The fearless enthusiasm of fireside signal Sagittarius evokes us to discover what is feasible. Dominated by Jupiter, the planet of excellent fortune and luck, Sagittarius is a visionary, reminding us that stagnancy solely retains us small. As we start to evaluation our 12 months, we might discover ourselves pulled towards dangers that after appeared out of attain. Symboled by the brave Archer, Sagittarius encourages us to take an opportunity; a reminder that threat yields reward. The braveness sought through the Sagittarius season is usually present in retaining a way of optimism, as we all know the darkish days of winter are upon us. As we stand on the precipice of chance and plunge forth into the unknown, the thrill of taking of venture within the recreation of life broadens our views, no matter end result.
Yoga is a apply of bravery, as a result of it requires us to face (or sit, or lay) absolutely bare with ourselves, in our personal authenticity and knowledge. That is what the teachings and themes of Sagittarius season are all about — the cultivation of private authenticity in order that we might stay courageous and brave in our outward pursuits. It’s becoming that Sagittarius season begins with a rumination on gratitude within the U.S. (a word right here to acknowledge the problematic historical past of Thanksgiving because it pertains to cultural genocide). With a purpose to step into our personal bravery and authenticity, we regularly must expertise or nurture a way of gratitude for the place we’ve been. Because the Archer asks us to take purpose and step into that daring vitality of this fireplace signal, it’s crucial to carry with it an perspective of gratitude for all that has introduced us to the culminating second of now.
Knowledge is one other essential theme of the season, as we shut the ultimate cycle of autumn’s transition and put together for the lengthy inward journey of winter. When now we have taken inventory of the place we’ve been, and in authenticity and bravado set ourselves as much as take purpose at the place we’d wish to be, we not solely must depend on our internal knowledge, however acquire it. The transition of fall has given strategy to the ruminations and introspection of the solstice. Sagittarius is the bridge that prepares us for the ultimate journey of the astrological 12 months.
Squat or Garland Pose (Malasana)
Sagittarius guidelines the hips, and this squatting posture is thought for its capability to strengthen the pelvic ground. Because the hip flexors and groins obtain a deep stretch, the form additionally strengthens the ankles and ft. The stomach wall engages barely to elongate the back-body and draw the backbone towards impartial. Squat Pose may be made extra accessible by inserting a block beneath the seat for assist. This helps to construct stability within the ankle joints and root into the outer edges of the ft.
Draw your palms collectively at your coronary heart as a gesture of gratitude. Press into the bottom a part of your internal thighs to keep up the opening as sensation percolates in your hips. The internal edges of your ft may be introduced collectively to ship the knees out extensive as your backbone flexes ahead. This pose engages and opens the foundation (Muladhara) chakra, and stimulates the sacral (Svadhisthana) chakra because the transverse stomach muscular tissues are activated.
Warrior III (Virabhadrasana III) with Jupiter “Lock” Mudra
Hindu mythology describes the warrior Virabhadra, an incarnation of Shiva, in three elements, offering fodder for all three Warrior poses. Daksha, a robust priest, held a yagna (a ritual sacrifice) and didn’t invite his daughter Sati or her husband, Shiva. Offended together with her father, Sati threw herself into a hearth in retaliation. Shiva was so devastated that he ripped a tuft of hair from his head, from which sprang the thousand-headed warrior Virabhadra, who decapitated Daksha along with his mighty sword. The form of Warrior III comes from the second within the story that Virabhadra affords Daksha’s head ahead.
Warrior III stabilizes your hips, strengthens the again physique, and engages the abdominals. The form assessments and improves stability, and requires total-body coordination. Jupiter mudra may be included into the pose by interlocking the palms overhead and increasing the index fingers towards one’s expansiveness; to the huge potentialities of the longer term.
The throat (Vishuddha) chakra is activated by each the posture and the mudra because the cervical backbone lengthens. The crown (Sahasara) chakra awakens to the upper collective consciousness, and the third eye (Ajna) chakra to higher perception and readability. The sacral (Svadhisthana) and photo voltaic plexus (Manipura) chakras are additionally stimulated because the stomach wall engages to maintain the form.
Bow Pose (Dhanurasana)
The 700-verse dialog within the Bhagavad Gita between Krishna and Arjuna happens when Arjuna places down his dhanu, his weapon-bow, and refuses to struggle. Krishna works to persuade Arjuna that the battle is in actual fact his dharma and a part of the higher plan. The bow form of this posture is an archetype for cultivating braveness within the face of transition, to give up the ego and go forth with fearlessness and charm.
Bow Pose is an amazing backbend. Although the form asks the hip flexors to maneuver past a practical vary of movement for a lot of practitioners, you can also make Bow Pose extra accessible by utilizing a strap. As your again physique is mobilized and stomach wall stretches, Bow Pose broadens your chest and pectoral muscular tissues throughout the entrance of your physique to open your coronary heart. Size is generated from tailbone to crown, significantly alongside the cervical backbone to open your throat.
This posture is energetically vital, as the center (Anahata) chakra is the purpose of transition from the decrease (materials) chakras, and the higher (religious) energetic facilities. Bow Pose additionally prompts the throat (Vishuddha) chakra, stimulating braveness to voice our genuine fact.
Not a conventional yoga asana however generally invoked in a contemporary class, circling the hips is an exploration of the pelvis. Start in a tabletop place, with knees simply behind hips, and palms positioned simply extensive of elbows, and anchor the knees, shins, tops of ft, and palms into the earth. Rock forwards and backwards to stimulate vitality movement upward from the bottom of your backbone. Urgent down into your palms and pushing away from the ground will open create extra space between the shoulderblades in the back of your coronary heart.
Shifting round in round motions helps launch and strengthen your decrease again, because the outer hips obtain a mild stretch and the pelvic ground is engaged. Honing the deep core muscular tissues stretches the intercostal muscular tissues between the ribs whereas firming the arms and shoulders.
Hip Circles are an lively “stirring of the pot,” awakening creativity by sending the movement of prana on to our sexual middle, the sacral (Svadhisthana) chakra. That is the seat of our artistic and passionate forces the place who we actually are, and what we’re cultivating, resides. On this place on all fours, it’s inspired to discover any sort of intuitive, natural motion the physique could also be craving—invoking the apply of bodily svadhyaya. Hip Circles are a good way to start an genuine dialog along with your physique.
Simple Seat (Sukhasana)
When the Prince Siddhartha sat beneath the Bodhi tree for seven weeks to grasp the that means of existence, he vowed to not depart his seat till he may discover a strategy to finish the struggling of the world round him—even when that meant his personal demise. Throughout these 49 days, he realized that the reason for human struggling was greed, selfishness, and foolishness, and that if we may rid ourselves of those mindless feelings we may discover true happiness and contentment. With this revelation, he attained enlightenment and reemerged because the Buddha.
This easy seated posture helps chill out and open the hips and groins, the area of the physique dominated by Sagittarius, to elongate the outer thigh muscular tissues, or abductors, and stretch the ligaments within the knees and ankles. By holding the backbone upright, the again is gently strengthened. If the hips and knees are tight, sit on high of a folded blanket or a yoga block for added assist. Simple Seat works additionally wonders for stress and nervousness discount.
Energetically, there’s a sense of grounding into the sitting bones to activate the foundation (Muladhara) chakra on the base of the backbone. As a result of the complete backbone is being held upright, a way of size that generates from the bottom of the backbone by means of the highest of the top may basically open all seven chakras.
Lisette is a author, yoga trainer, and content material director. She’s a member of the founding management staff for Yoga Unify, a brand new yoga non-profit, the Director of Advertising and marketing at Mammoth Yoga Pageant, and the co-author of The Yoga Almanac. Lisette accomplished her 200-hour coaching in Brooklyn and her Reiki attunement in India, and furthered her research with Leslie Kaminoff of the Respiratory Mission, Tiffany Cruikshank, and Andrew Holecek. She’s additionally a Grief Coach and Dying Doula, whose work is concentrated on integrating the instruments of mindfulness and asana for grief therapeutic and end-of-life nervousness. A filmmaker in a previous life, Lisette has made movies with group leaders reminiscent of Dharma Mittra, Eddie Stern, and Eoin Finn. She lives together with her husband and animals within the Hudson Valley, NY..
Andrea Rice is a author and editor masking well being and wellness. Her work has appeared in Yoga Journal, The Wanderlust Journal, mindbodygreen, Astrostyle, SONIMA, and New York Yoga+Life. She has additionally labored as a journalist for The New York Occasions and INDY Week. As a yoga trainer with a decade of expertise, Andrea accomplished her 200-hour coaching in New York, NY; and furthered her coaching with Elena Brower and Alexandria Crow. She has additionally studied astrology extensively with The AstroTwins, Ophira and Tali Edut. Andrea has provided yoga, meditation, journaling, and creativity workshops in Brooklyn and Manhattan in New York, NY; and has been a presenter at Wanderlust. She lives in Raleigh, NC, together with her husband and their cat, the place she teaches yoga at Blue Lotus and the North Carolina Museum of Artwork.