Get grounded! Just in time for Taurus season and a sensually stabilizing cosmic cycle, we’re thrilled to bring you our latest installment of zodiac-themed yoga poses by Andrea Rice, a Libra with a Taurus Midheaven and Astrostyle’s Managing Editor. 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
Stimulate your senses and speak your truth: Taurus season gets us into a grounded groove from April 19-May 20, 2017. By practicing yoga and embodying the qualities of the slow and steady Bull, we can build our foundations from the ground up, find a greater sense of contentment and voice our authentic desires.
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 we die in some way. And it is only when we stop spinning our wheels incessantly to actually witness our patterns—old habits, beliefs and outmoded ways of being—that we can become aware enough to actually 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 judgement. In other words: Free your mind—and the rest will follow.
By working with astrology and asana during patient, persistent Taurus season, we can transmute the qualities of the Bull into tangible form. As the zodiac’s first grounded earth sign and a stabilizing fixed sign, slow and steady Taurus know how to take their sweet, sensual time. Ruled by decadent Venus, Taurus energy is romantic, lavish and even a bit stubborn and overindulgent at times. But mostly, Taurus encourages all of us to find contentment and ease with wherever we’re at on our path.
Planetary Poses for Taurus Season (April 19-May 20)
As the sign of the Bull that knows when to maintain a steady pace and when to take charge, Taurus rules the throat in the body. The following yoga poses are designed to ground the subtle energetic body after the frenetic spring awakening of Aries season, and also open the throat chakra. For musical inspiration, I recommend Marvin Gaye’s “That Stubborn Kind of Fellow” as your go-to soundtrack to help you drop expectations and embrace the practical magic that lies in each and every moment during Taurus season.
Earthy Warrior I
In this stabilizing version of Warrior I (Virabhadrasana I), the palms press together overhead to cultivate an energetic root-to-rise effect within. From Mountain Pose (Tadasana), step the left foot backward to generate a long stance and turn the toes in so the foot rests at about a 45-degree angle. Root into the edge of the back foot, too. To help square the hips, heel-toe your front foot a little more to the right as you draw the arms overhead. Press the palms together and frame the ears with the biceps. Optional: Tilt the head back slightly to open up the throat. Hold for 3-5 cycles of breath and then switch sides.
Get Into A Goddess Groove
From Warrior I, turn all ten toes to one side and parallel the feet, then turn the toes slightly out and the heels in. Sink low into a Goddess Squat and place the hands on the thighs, just above the knees. Using the breath, inhale to release the right shoulder down and turn your chin to the left, letting out an exhalation, then switch to release the left shoulder down and turn your chin to the right. Continue moving through this dynamic, funky groove several times on each side, staying low in your squat.
How Low Can You Go? Grounded Lunge
From a Goddess stance, sink low into one hip to sit all the way down onto the heel as the opposite leg slides out straight. This side lunge, also known as Scandasana, challenges balance and stability, while exploring sensation in the hips. You can choose to keep both hands tented in front of you for support or extend the opposite hand to the sky for several breaths. Then, switch sides by staying low and crawling the hands over to the opposite leg, straightening through the other.
Backbend Bonanza: Level 1
If you have a beginner/intermediate level practice, these two backbends are for you! Come to lay on your back with your knees bent and soles of the feet planted firmly onto the ground slightly wider than your hips. Rock the shoulderblades underneath of you to root the backs of the triceps, while interlacing the palms underneath the sacrum. Inhale to relax the belly, and exhale to send the hips skyward coming into a Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana). The key here is to keep the throat open with the chin pointed upward, yet letting the back of the neck lengthen. Stay here for 5-7 deep cycles of breath, and then lower.
To come into Fish Pose (Matsyasana), place the palms face down underneath the sacrum, resting the top part of the buttocks on the backs of the hands. Extend the legs out long and draw the forearms underneath of you to lift the chest. The throat will open tremendously here, but it’s important to let the back of the skull remain rooted to the earth, too. Breathe deeply for up to 5 cycles of breath, in and out through the nose.
Backbend Bonanza: Level 2
For intermediate/advanced yogis, you can move on to these two bigger backbends. For Wheel Pose (Urdhva Dhanurasana), set up as you did for Bridge, but plant the palms just behind the shoulders with the elbows wrapping in. Inhale to the crown of the head first, then exhale to press into the ground and lift the hips, engaging the glutes to protect the lower back. Allow the crown of the head to be heavy, and neck relaxed to facilitate the opening of the throat. Stay here for 3-5 deep breaths, and lower.
Alternatively, you can move directly into the final stage of these backbends and enter Upward Facing Two-Foot Staff Pose (Dwi Pada Viparita Dandasana). From Wheel, lower one forearm down at a time and interlace the hands. Root down through the forearms and continue wrapping the triceps in. Exercise caution to not strain the neck as you straighten through the legs and lengthen them out in front of you. Exiting this posture is precarious, so please do so slow and steadily like the Bull. Lower back to your crown and return your palms to the floor, placed underneath your elbows. Tuck your chin toward your chest to lift the crown and lower slowly down to the floor, one vertebrae at a time.
Down & Dirty: Downward Dog w/Bent Knees
To balance the effects of backbending, it’s important to take a counter-posture like Downward Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana), or any other forward bend. In this variation with the knees bent, more lengthening of the spine can take place and you can experience greater release of the lower back. By rooting the palms firmly and pressing the earth away from you, the heart can more easily melt toward the thighs, freeing up your trapezius muscles, neck and shoulders. Take a deep inhale in, and exhale as audibly as you like, giving the throat chakra a necessary tuneup.
Root to Rise: Tree Pose
Lastly, you can take all that grounded energy you’ve harnessed and offer it to the heavens. Return to a standing posture and shift your weight into one foot, drawing the opposite foot to the inner thigh or calf muscle (think above or below the knee). Hug everything in to the midline of the body as you draw your palms together at your heart, coming into Tree Pose (Vrksasana). Once you’ve established an energetic exchange with the earth beneath you, draw your hands all the way up overhead, framing the ears with the biceps. Look toward the sky and smile, as you stand tall and proud, rooted firmly in your foundations as you prepare to do the necessary work that lay ahead on your unique path. After you’ve tested your balance for several breaths, be sure to switch sides.
Photos courtesy of Beth Kessler Photography
Andrea Rice is the Managing Editor for AstroStyle and is also a writer and yoga teacher in Brooklyn, NY. 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 monthly newsletter on her website.