Ready to revitalize? We’re excited to bring you Leo Healthstrology, a monthly column that focuses on feeling your best during every solar cycle. We’ve tapped our friend Stephanie Gailing, MS—an astrologer and wellness alchemist—to share her wisdom as a guest contributor. With the Sun blazing through Leo July 22-August 22, here are some stellar suggestions for wellness. Enjoy and salud! –T&O
By Stephanie Gailing, MS
Astrologer & Wellness Alchemist
Each year, when the Sun radiates through bold, expressive Leo (July 22-August 22), we experience the ability to tap into the creative, courageous and playful qualities that this sign represents. And while this may provide us with a greater desire to have fun, express our unique selves and add more color to our lives, this time—like all others—may also offer us an array of unique challenges.
Turning to wellness astrology, and keeping in mind the unique strengths and vulnerabilities associated with Leo, we can find stellar ways to encourage vitality, reduce stress and fine-tune our well-being.
Below you’ll find self-care strategies to feel your best during Leo Season:
Leo Wellness Mantras:
- Love is medicine
- Have fun and vitality will follow
- I have the courage to tackle any challenge
Leo Stress-Reducing Allies
- Amplified generosity
- Capacity to find creative solutions
- Ability to delegate
In wellness astrology, aspects of our anatomy and physiology accord with the twelve zodiac signs. Those that are associated with Leo include the heart, spine and hair.
♥ Your Heart
Leo reminds us to radiate love, to have it stream through our hearts. As Leo rules the physical heart in wellness astrology, it’s a good time to focus in on this very important organ, making sure to give it the attention it deserves. Quitting smoking (or better yet, not starting at all), getting moderate and regular exercise and eating a whole foods diet will pack a 1-2-3 punch for promoting heart health. Elevated levels of stress hormones like cortisol have been linked to heart disease, so weave in relaxation practices like meditation, arts and crafts or reading. And if you’re looking to fortify your cardiovascular health, don’t skimp on your beauty rest; research has shown that those who get less than optimal sleep have a higher risk of stroke and heart attack.
Back Up Your Back
“Grow a spine” is a saying that calls for boosting one’s confidence and courage. Leo season helps us radiate more self-assurance, and this sign governs the back. Given Leo is a fixed sign (and therefore tends toward rigidity), it’s important to hone exercises that increase skeletal flexibility. A few rounds of Cat and Cow Poses each morning can be helpful. Among its other benefits, Kundalini yoga can inspire the flow of vital life-force energy—qi or prana—through the spinal column (while there are some online resources, it’s best to undertake a dedicated Kundalini practice with an experienced teacher). To reduce stress on your vertebrae as you move through the world, check out movement re-patterning approaches such as the Alexander Technique or Feldenkrais Method.
Leo season is big on the “f” word—three of them actually: fun, frolic and fête. This celebratory solar cycle is wonderful for your spirit and social life, although a possible challenge to your digestive system. Arming yourself with some celebratory strategies can be helpful, so that you can rejoice without overdoing it. Eat a light pre-party snack to curb your appetite and reduce the temptation to make impulsive food choices. Enjoy a few drinks sans alcohol and you won’t dampen your fire the next morning. If plain sparkling water seems too dull, enjoy it with a splash of bitters, or try a flavorful mocktail instead.
Eat Smart for Your Heart
The notion that fat is bad has been turned on its head over the years; it turns out that some fats—notably the omega-3 variety—are actually beneficial for general health, including that of the heart. Omega-3s help reduce the inflammation associated with cardiovascular disease, and while salmon and sardines are some of the most concentrated omega-3-rich foods around, you can also get your fill through plant-based sources such as walnuts, flaxseeds, chia seeds, purslane and winter squash. Extra virgin olive oil is undoubtedly and deliciously heart-health promoting; this Mediterranean diet star is rich in monounsaturated fats and free radical-scavenging polyphenols. Other foods connected to supporting cardiovascular wellness include dark chocolate, berries, nuts, avocado and red wine, reflecting that eating for heart health can be fun and tasty.
Not surprisingly, the sunflower—with its halo of brilliant yellow petals—is ruled by the Sun, the planet that governs Leo. The seeds of this regal flower are among the most concentrated sources of Vitamin E. A premier antioxidant, Vitamin E helps maintain cellular integrity through quenching free radicals. It also curbs oxidation of LDL cholesterol, a process that leads to atherosclerosis. Sunflower seeds are also rich in phytosterols, plant-based nutrients that can lower cholesterol levels. Sprinkle them on salads, add them to trail mix, use them instead of walnuts in pesto, or swap in sunflower seed butter as your peanut or almond butter alternative.
Grapes are a delicious way to keep you heart in tip-top shape. While all colored grapes are wonderful, the red and purple ones contain more antioxidants including the polyphenol resveratrol. This nutrient has recently claimed great fame for its cardiovascular benefits, as well as possible anti-aging effects. Grapes can make a great snack and are particularly refreshing when frozen. Red and even white wine is a concentrated source of resveratrol and contains more than just grapes alone. If you want to steer clear of alcohol, opt for organic grape juice or de-alcoholized wine instead. And try to buy organic grapes whenever you can, since conventionally grown ones have been found to be high in pesticide residues.
Leo energy inspires us to live through our hearts, expressing warmth and love to those around us. Yet, sometimes being openhearted can be challenging, especially at times when we also have sadness and grief resting heavily in our spirits. If you’re feeling disheartened or discouraged, consider Borage flower essence. It’s an uplifting elixir that can inspire a sense of buoyant courage, catalyzing the flow of streaming heart energy.
As noted in the foods section, sunflowers are aligned with Leo. And just like the flower, this time of year has us oriented to radiating luminosity into the world. Harnessing that inner fire requires us to be in harmonious alliance with our confidence and self-assurance. Without this connection, low self-esteem or heightened self-glory can manifest, dimming the brilliance of our pure and powerful self-expression. Sunflower flower essence helps bolster our solar energy, allowing our warmth and light to shine through.
Hair & Scalp Treatment
Lions—the animal totem for Leo—are known for their noble crowns of hair. Reflecting this, it’s a good time to take care of our manes. While salons and spas offer services aimed at showering our hair with more luster, you can readily add some magic to your mane with at-home treatments. Turn to your fridge and pantry for some of the best ingredients for nourishing hair and scalp, including honey, avocados, beer and lemons. Don’t forget about the benefit of getting regular trims; it’s the easiest way to take care of split ends and increase body and shine.
Leo season can help us orient to the world around us, gleaning insights that we can use as feedback for our personal growth. As this is a lot like how biofeedback works, this mind-body therapy is a great one to investigate during this time. In a biofeedback session, bodily functions—such as heart rate or muscle tension—are measured and relayed back to you. Using these measurements as barometers of your internal state, you then focus on an intended goal (for example, relaxing your body or breathing more deeply) as you continue to receive feedback regarding your progress. Biofeedback is used to address conditions such as headaches, pain, high blood pressure, anxiety and more. To find a practitioner near you, check out the listings at the Biofeedback Certification International Alliance.
Leo season stokes the child in all of us. It’s a time when we can infuse our lives with more playtime, remembering some of the innocence we’ve lost along the way. As such, it’s a great time to give our inner kiddos an outer canvas to play upon. An easy way to do that is to spend time with little ones in our lives. Take them to the park, help them with crafts, or do a parent-child yoga class. Was there an activity you loved as a kid, like painting, dancing or gymnastics? Find an adult version of this hobby and sign up for a workshop now.
Be a Drama Queen (or King)
The sign of Leo reminds us that life can be a stage, and that every life event offers an opportunity to be true to our creative selves. Tap into your inner thespian and take acting or improv classes. You’ll dig deeper into your creativity and also have loads of fun. Theater classes offer a structured venue for being in the spotlight, something we orient towards during this time. Acting gives us permission to let loose and be ourselves while we’re being someone else, letting us shine more brightly during this shine-brightly season.
Disclaimer: This information should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health condition or disease and is not intended as a substitute for consulting with your physician or healthcare provider.
Artwork by Haley ED Houseman
Haley ED Houseman is a freelance writer, illustrator and tarot reader. She deals in the modern mystical, as well as art, fashion, and the natural world. You can keep up with her on twitter and instagram on @hedhouseman, or on her website at hedhouseman.com.
About Stephanie Gailing
As an astrologer and wellness consultant, Stephanie Gailing weaves together stellar insights, flower essence therapy, dreamwork, and compassion-based coaching. Author of Planetary Apothecary, Stephanie offers Stellar Guidance Sessions, teaches workshops, writes about holistic well-being, and crafts custom-designed flower essence elixirs. Stephanie’s new online class, Inspiring Dreams and Sleep, will launch this summer as part of the Hillman School. Based in Seattle, she frequently travels to New York City, and works with clients all over the world.
Mercury Retrograde Room & Body Mist available now! Stephanie has crafted a flower essence elixir, fragranced with organic lavender, designed to help you mindfully navigate Mercury Retrograde obstacles and opportunities. Find it here.