What is Astro Yoga?
Because cosmic energy lives within & outside of us, in astro-yoga, we use the ancient teachings of medical astrology and the energetic correspondence of planets and chakras to understand what current cosmic energies are affecting in our energetic bodies. Since the physical body is built on the scaffolding of the energetic body, we can use certain asanas, pranayamas and meditations to balance this energy. Through this practice, we are able to find balance from within, no matter the ever-changing energy without.
The Moon acts as a cosmic mirror by reflecting the energy of the Sun and all the planets in the sky. By syncing our yoga practice with the phases and the energy of the Moon, we can intentionally shift energy within the body in accordance with the cosmos, connect to our intuition and process our emotions (both of the latter being symbolized by the Moon), as well as heal our divine feminine energy.
Phases of the Moon
While it is possible to work with the Moon every day of its cycle, most choose to work with the four (or eight) phases of the Moon. We'll focus on four here for simplicity:
New Moon - a predominantly yin time, perfect for yin and restorative yoga.
1st Quarter Moon - yin building to yang, perfect for a slow flow or yin/yang practice that builds energy near the end.
Full Moon - yang peak energy, perfect for a yang, active vinyasa or power class.
3rd Quarter Moon - yang decreasing to yin, perfect for a yang/yin class that starts off yang and slows down to a yin or restorative practice.
Depending on the zodiac sign the Moon occurs in, we can focus on specific body parts & chakras for these practices to tune into where the energy is being activated. Learn more about how to work with the moon phases in this blog.
Cultivating Yin to Counteract Excessive Yang
In a hyper-Yang (patriarchal) society, it's necessary to make space for yin practices to cultivate feminine energy. While, a certain amount of Yang in life is necessary and healthy, a failure to balance this out with sufficient Yin moments often leads to burnout. As a result, we hold onto unnecessary physical and emotional tension that can cause us pain, stress and disease.
The Moon is overall the yin duality of of the cosmos (the Sun being yang), so working with the Moon cycle is a great way to cultivate yin. Approaching our physical activity through an-astrology-informed lens therefore allows us to heal and rebalance our yin energy. It allows us to have compassion for the waxing and waning of energy that happens on all levels - cosmic and bodily.
Currently, we are in the waning half of the moon cycle - moving from the full moon in Leo to the New Moon in Pisces. This is a perfect time to tap into yang -> yin practices, and as we approach the New Moon, focus solely on yin yoga. Since energy is yin-dominant during the new Moon, it's a time of rest, reflection + cleansing.
What is Yin Yoga?
It's a quiet meditative practice which works deeply into the body with passive, longer-held poses. Physically, it targets connective tissues such as ligaments, joints, tendons, and the deep fascia networks of the body. Energetically, it stimulates meridians from Traditional Chinese Medicine by enhancing energy (Qi or Prana) flow in the organs.
Mentally, it helps release mental blockages through moments of stillness or working into an area of the body where we are resisting with fear. The practice of yin yoga is one of deep surrender, and it coincides beautifully with the upcoming New Moon in Pisces on February 19th.
This New Moon reminds us to remain open, to not force an outcome, but rather to accept what’s present and allow it to unfold. Conjunct Saturn in the last degrees of Aquarius, it symbolizes completion of a karmic cycle. Join me for a candlelit class inspired by this energy below.
In this Pisces-inspired Yin practice, we'll work on opening the hips, increasing lymphatic flow, and releasing tension in the feet (ruled by Pisces) to remove blockages in energy meridians in the body.
It's a slow practice which gives you the time and space to allow emotions, thoughts and feelings you have kept in the shadows, to surface so that they can be released.