Brace yourself for the holidays! Mercury retrograde is mucking up our mojo, backspinning through structured Capricorn from December 19-January 4, then backing into outspoken Sagittarius for the duration of the retrograde, until January 8.
It’s a well-known fact among astro-geeks that anything that can go wrong during Mercury retrograde probably will. Of course, we continue to tout prevention, so we asked our Executive Editor, Brooklyn-based yoga teacher and Libra Andrea Rice, to share a few yoga poses to help everyone calm the eff down in the midst of the mayhem.
With Mercury disrupting our well-being, these yoga poses can be a lifesaver—helping rebalance our energy and bring a sense of peace and calm back to our overactive minds as we tackle our ambitions and build our empire.
by Andrea Rice
With Mercury retrograde gone mainstream, we’re gaining even more insight about what we can do to actually thrive, rather than experience a meltdown. And yes, we do have a choice! You can either blame your misgivings on Mercury’s mishaps, or work with the planet’s temporary reversal to shed some light on the shadow aspects of yourself, and bring insight to your communication breakdowns.
Three to four times a year, Mercury retrograde is a time to revisit, rehash, reshape, reflect, recalibrate, reconnect…you get the idea. Which also makes it an ideal time to rebalance, in order to find some calm in the eye of the storm.
I love incorporating astrological themes into my yoga classes, and I always notice a profound shift in the energy of my students especially during Mercury’s backspin. This current retrograde holds court in Capricorn, the zodiac’s structured taskmaster, so you can expect some anxiety when it comes to going after your biggest goals and dreams. Guard against this by trying not to be so hard on yourself—since we’ll all have a tendency to be a little too overworked and over-critical during this cycle.
For the next three weeks, if your sensibility and well-being are feeling out of whack, here is a five pose yoga prescription to re-center your body and mind during Mercury Retrograde in Capricorn.
You can perform these poses individually, as part of your regular practice, or as a sequence. Be sure to warm up your body with a few Sun Salutations, first.
1. Eagle Pose (Garudasana)
With so much crazy, confusing super-charged energy running rampant in the air, we need to draw everything inward first, before we can expand and purge what isn’t actually serving us. This pose hugs everything into the midline of the body, while building strength and focus. A focused mind is a calm mind, while finding balance on the outside helps to equalize the subtle, energetic body within.
Begin by rooting both feet in Mountain Pose (Tadasana) and take a few deep, calming breaths as you soften and relax your face and shoulders. Shift your weight into your right foot, and wrap the left leg over the right thigh as you squeeze the inner thighs together to sit lower. With a soft face and focused eyes, wrap your left arm under your right and bring the palms as close together as you can. Draw the elbows down to release your shoulders and gaze over your fingertips. Breathe deeply.
2. Standing Mermaid (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana Variation)
Feel your wound up energy start to unravel as you unwind your arms and legs from your Eagle wrap.
With your weight in your right foot, send the left foot behind you to catch in your left elbow. Drop your chest slightly forward to find more extension in your back. Press down into your standing leg, softening through the knee to find more space in the lifted leg. Take a deep breath in to reach the right arm overhead and bend at the elbow, to try reaching for the left hand just behind the back of your head. Don’t force it—just reach as you continue to breathe into the expansion of your heart and send the gaze forward. Invite in loving, calming intentions into this heart opening backbend.
3. Half Moon (Ardha Chandrasana)
Gently release your foot from the bend in your elbow and soften through your standing leg as you tip the torso forward. Catch the earth with your hand and feel a grounding activation charge through your rooted fingertips. Extend the left leg long behind you, parallel to your hip point. Flex your toes to help maintain your balance. Lift the left hand and your gaze to the stars and embody yourself as an earthly connection between the heavens above and the ground below.
Allow yourself to wobble and be patient with yourself if you fall—because just like Mercury Rx, our yoga practice can sometimes shake up our perspective whether we like it or not! But what happens when we come out the other side is always worth the effort.
4. Goddess Pose (Utkata Konasana)
From Half Moon, release your back foot to the ground, and turn your back toes out slightly so that both feet are turned at 45 degrees. Sink your hips down low into a squat and stack your knees over your ankles. Root down through the soles of your feet and draw from some of that divine Goddess energy from the Earth.
Inhale to sweep your arms overhead, and then exhale to bend your elbows at 90 degrees with your palms face out. This should feel pretty intense on your thighs and glutes so be sure to smile as you bid the chaos of mischievous Mercury, adieu, with this powerful, grounding pose. Optional: purge Mercury’s intellectual demons by exhaling with a Lion’s Breath, sticking out your tongue and letting out a “H-A” sound (or roar!).
5. Tree Pose (Vrksasana)
This pose is always a favorite for when you’re traveling or on the go—partly due to its subtlety, but mostly because of its noticeable grounding and balancing effects on the body and mind.
Step your feet together in Mountain Pose and shift your weight back to your right foot. Draw the sole of your left foot to the inside of the right thigh or just below the knee. Root down through the grounded foot to rise through the torso. Keep your chest and chin lifted as you draw your palms to your heart’s center in Anjali Mudra, cultivating gratitude for the insight Mercury has offered you, now that you’ve shifted your perspective from a place of havoc, to serenity and confidence.
By working to balance the outer body, these poses work to invite some peace to the tumultuous inner landscape, helping to quiet the ever-talkative Mercury whenever he’s up to his old tricks.
Andrea Rice is the Executive Editor for AstroStyle and is also a writer and yoga teacher. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, SONIMA, mindbodygreen, and other online publications. You can find her regular classes at shambhala yoga & dance center in Brooklyn, and connect with her on Instagram, Twitter, and on her website.
Photos by Beth Kessler Photography