Ready, steady, build! Just in time for Capricorn season and a grounded cosmic cycle, we’re thrilled to bring you our latest installment of zodiac-themed yoga poses by Andrea Rice, a Libra with a Capricorn South Node. For each astrological season, Andrea will share her favorite planetary poses tailored to the traits of the corresponding star sign. By embodying astrology and asana, you can move more in tune to the natural rhythms of life; enhancing your perceptions and elevating your spirit. Namaste! –Tali & Ophi
By Andrea Rice
Stabilizing Capricorn season plants our feet on solid ground, shifting our attention toward mapping out our goals in a practical and sensible way. As the sign symbolized by the mythical Sea Goat, Capricorn roots our dreams in reality with tireless ambition that reaches for the stars.
Much like the zodiac wheel, our bodies are always shifting, progressing and changing form. From the “birth” of Aries season to the “death” of Pisces, we too are experiencing a continuous life cycle. In other words, we cannot be born again until the outmoded parts of ourselves are released. It is only when we stop spinning our wheels and actually witness our patterns that we can actually become aware enough to break free from them.
Picture yourself like a spiraling galaxy, where at your galactic core is your light, your source, your divinity. It is by moving into that very center of serenity that change and growth can occur. It is where yoga begins. Astrology is a wonderful complement to yoga asana, as both disciplines require self-study. And since the purpose of yoga is to stabilize the fluctuations of the mind, we can more readily look to astrological insight from a place of clearer perspective with acceptance and without any judgment. In other words: Free your mind—and the rest will follow.
Each year, Capricorn season coincides with the Winter Solstice, the shortest and darkest day of the year that signifies a rebirth of the Sun—and a return to light. During this cycle, we are invited to realign with our goals and ideals as we look toward the new year ahead—despite the chaos of the holiday season and looming Q1 agendas that are swirling all around us. Sturdy Capricorn is a leadership-driven cardinal sign symbolized by the unusual paradox that is the Sea Goat—a testament to the persistent energy of this ambitious, yet grounded earth sign. Ruled by stern Saturn, the tough teacher planet known throughout astrological lore as “Father Karma,” Capricorn reminds us that while it is okay to have lofty dreams and grand visions, they must also be rooted in reality. (Fun cosmic fact: Saturn returned to its home sign of Capricorn on December 19, 2017, where it will remain until 2020.)
By turning inward and setting intentions during Capricorn season, we can get a head start on our New Year’s resolutions and clear the slate for what’s to come.
Planetary Poses for Capricorn Season (December 21-January 20)
Capricorn rules the joints in the body, the kneecaps most of all. The following yoga poses are designed to strengthen and lubricates the joints, and stretch the ligaments in the knees. After the Sun’s horizon-broadening stint through philosophical Sagittarius, Capricorn season roots our dreams in reality with gumption and confidence, as we pursue our grandest goals. For musical inspiration, I recommend the self-titled album by Diana Ross, and listening to “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” on repeat.
Climb Every Mountain: Tadasana (Mountain Pose)
Stand tall and proud and feel the earth beneath your feet (or snow boots!). Soften the kneecaps and engage the quadriceps to avoid locking out the joints and hyperextending the knees. Climb up the spine and lengthen through the crown of the head, while broadening through the chest and drawing the shoulder blades together down the back. Turn the palms face out and spread the fingers wide, as though they could stretch all the way to the earth below. Breathe deeply, and set an intention for your practice.
Squat Goals! Squat Pose (Malasana)
This grounding, hip opening posture lengthens the spine while strengthening the ankles and knee joints. From Tadasana, widen the feet and sit low, bringing the palms together at the heart and pressing the thumbs into the center of the chest to help keep the sternum lifted. Root into the outside edges of the feet and use the elbows to press the inner thighs outwardly. Keep lifting through the chest and extending through the crown of the head. Gather the process behind your intentions, and as you breathe, consider the framework for which your intentions could be made manifest.
Intention Activation: Triangle Pose (Trikonasana)
Return to a wide stance and turn the back heel slightly inward. Separate the arms wide and gaze over the front fingers with a soft, yet focused concentrations. Take a deep breath in, then exhale to reach long out of the waist and let the front hand fall to the right shin as the other hand reaches toward the heavens. Let your gaze follow whatever it is you’re reaching for overhead and pause here. Then, reach the lifted hand behind you and engage your side waist to lift the torso back to stand. Pause, and repeat, giving yourself the opportunity to try again; to continue building your foundation. Switch sides.
Calm in the Storm: Dancer’s Pose (Natarajasana)
Return to Mountain Pose. Shift your weight into your right foot and swing the left knee behind you to grab the inside edge of the left foot. Lift the right arm high and stabilize, mindful not to hyperextend the standing leg. Take a deep breath in, then exhale to hinge forward and extend the right hand out long in front of you. Keep the chest lifted and gaze focused. When you’re ready to come out, lift the right hand back up toward the sky to return to stand. Switch sides.
Falcon Focus: Extended Hand-to-Big Toe Pose (Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana)
Extended Hand-to-Big-Toe is a BIG pose with many building blocks, so it’s up to you to decide when it’s time to go further, and when it’s time to stop. From Mountain Pose, shift your weight into one foot (left pictured) and lift the opposite knee to 90 degrees while grabbing hold of the outside edge of that foot. Inhale to stand up tall, exhale to straighten through the leg any amount. Pause here. Optional: extend the foot out to the side, keeping the hand on the hip. Optional: extend the hand from the hip out to the side. Optional: turn your gaze to follow the lifted foot. Breathe deeply, and then one movement at a time, return back to where you started. Switch sides.
Satisfaction Guaranteed: Bound Angle Pose (Baddha Konasana)
The time has come to rest and reflect. Come to a comfortable seat, pulling the flesh back from the sitting bones and bringing the soles of the feet together to send the knees out wide. Grab hold of the tops of the feet and sit up nice and tall. Feel a stretch in the groin and outer knees, optional: butterfly the knees gently to release tension in the hips. Pat yourself on the back for a job well done, and be sure to thank your body, too.
Photos courtesy of Beth Kessler
Andrea Rice is an editor-at-large for AstroStyle and is also a writer and yoga teacher. Her work has also appeared in The New York Times, Yoga Journal, New York Yoga+Life magazine, Wanderlust Media, SONIMA, mindbodygreen and other online publications. Connect with Andrea on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and sign up for her quarterly newsletter on her website.
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