It’s well known among astro-geeks and spiritual-mavens alike that full moons are a time to let go of what no longer serves us so we can create space for what’s to come. We use the new moon to plant seeds of intention that culminate over the coming six months at the corresponding full moon. We’d like to think that energetically speaking, yoga is a perfect practice to help harness the powerful energy of the ebb and flow of the lunar cycle.
There’s plenty of cosmic energy to harness on June 20, when the second installment of two RARE consecutive Sagittarius full moons brings our biggest goals full-circle. Normally there’s only one full moon per sign in any given year, making this second Sag full moon a true cosmic rarity. The first full moon in expansive, worldly Sagittarius fell on May 21 under more challenging skies, which means that things that have building since then could really come together now. June 20 also marks the Sun’s shift into sensitive, nurturing Cancer (ruled by the moon) AND the start of the summer solstice. This is a time for coming home to ourselves and letting go—for shedding layers of the past and moving forward with our biggest dreams.
We asked our Executive Editor, Brooklyn-based yoga teacher Andrea Rice (a Libra with a Sagittarius moon and Cancer North Node), to share a few “Planetary Poses” to channel the supercharged energy of the Sag full moon and ring in the solstice with some yoga. Namaste! –Ophi & Tali
By Andrea Rice, Executive Editor
I love incorporating astrological themes into my yoga classes, ESPECIALLY during the new and full moons. This full moon in worldly, expansive Sagittarius gives us the cosmic green light to be our biggest, boldest selves. And if that wasn’t enough star-power to give our asana a cosmic boost, summer officially arrives here in the Northern hemisphere on this same day. Traditionally, the solstice marks a time of honoring the fertility of the Earth and reminding ourselves of the Sun’s gifts of light and warmth.
Try these six Planetary Poses to ring in the solstice and activate the potency of the double Sagittarius full moon. Be sure to pause to reflect on your journey thus far as you release what no longer serves you and set your intentions. This is one cosmic event you don’t wanna miss!
You can perform these poses as a sequence, just be sure to complete them on the other side of your body. Warm with a few rounds of Cat/Cow and/or Sun Salutations, first.
1. Boat Pose (Navasana) with Jupiter Mudra
The Sun’s shift into Cancer, the nurturing water sign ruled by the moon, might tug at our moods and emotions more prevalently at the culmination of this Sagittarius full moon. This core-focused asana strengthens our foundation while cultivating confidence to move forward with our wildest, most expansive dreams. Because Sagittarius is ruled by worldly Jupiter, this particular mudra (hand gesture) will help you find the strength and focus to float your Boat Pose and the courage to come sail away!
Begin in a seated position with your knees bent and parallel and the soles of your feet rooted down. Pull the flesh back from your seat so you can feel your sitting bones connecting to the earth. Lightly grab hold of underneath your thighs and sit up nice and tall and float your feet off the earth. Lengthen your spine and curl your tailbone down and away from you. Lift through the crown of your head and draw your shoulder blades together behind you to broaden through your chest and open up your heart. Take a deep breath in, and then exhale to float your palms alongside you. Inhale, and then exhale to straighten your legs and spread through your toes. Make sure that you continue to sit up tall and watch that you don’t round forward in your shoulders. Next, interlace all of your fingers except for the two index fingers to a Jupiter mudra.
Smile, and breathe deeply as you point toward your bright and expansive future. Stay here for up to 10 deep cycles of breath.
2. Low Lunge (Anjaneyasana) with Padma Mudra
This variation on a basic low lunge offers your heart’s intentions to the universe.
From Downward Dog, inhale to step your right foot forward in between your hands and lower your back knee down. Stabilize your right knee by stacking it directly over the ankle. Bring your palms to your chest and activate your heart chakra with Padma mudra. Touch the outer edges of both pinky fingers and thumbs together, and keep the heels of the palms pressed. Blossom your hands open and extend through the tips of all 10 fingers. Take a deep breath in, and then set your intentions by voicing your heart’s deepest desires.
Exhale to extend both arms overhead to release your offerings to the cosmos. (Optional: close your eyes and gently let your head drop back.) Breathe deeply for 3–5 deep breaths.
3. Triangle Pose (Trikonasana)
This pose helps us establish our feet on terra firma, while we reach toward the heavens—bridging the gap between dreams and reality. By letting our gaze and attention follow whatever it is we are trying to grasp, we embody our goals and become the best versions of ourselves.
From low lunge, inhale to sweep your left hand toward the sky and spin your back heel down at about 45 degrees to straighten through both legs. You can root your right fingertips to the earth or place your right hand on your right ankle or shin to help you create more space. Feel the bottom of your right ribcage spin underneath of you as you rotate your chest upward—opening and expanding through your heart.
Keep your head and neck relaxed, and breathe deeply for 3–5 breaths.
4. Reverse Warrior (Viparita Virabhadrasana) with Shuni Mudra
This heart-opening asana establishes trust in our foundation while Shuni mudra, the gesture of patience, reminds us to honor our individual progress as we move toward our goals.
From Triangle Pose, re-bend through your front knee as you sweep your right hand up and overhead and left hand behind you. Slide your left hand down the back of your left thigh and be sure your front knee restacks over the ankle. Place the tip of your middle finger and thumb together for Shuni mudra as a reminder to practice patience. In order to manifest our biggest dreams, we must acknowledge every step of the way.
Root down through the soles of your feet and draw from some of that divine Goddess energy from the earth. (Optional: close your eyes and let your head drop back gently.) Stay here for 3–5 breaths.
5. Dancer’s Pose (Natarajasana) with Gyan Mudra
In Hindu mythology the archetype of Shiva, the god of the cosmic dance, cultivates grace and beauty amid chaos. Gyan mudra is a well-known gesture to bring focus to meditation. Let this dance serve as a reminder to find that inner peace and clarity whenever challenges arise along our journey.
Bring both hands forward to frame your front foot to exit Reverse Warrior safely. Step your back foot in and fold forward, then inhale to slowly rise all the way to stand in Mountain Pose (Tadasana). With a soft focused gaze several feet in front of you on the ground, shift your weight into your right foot. Bend your left knee behind you and grab hold of your foot or ankle with your left hand, then inhale your right hand to the sky. Place the tip of your index finger and thumb to touch and take a deep breath in. As you exhale, hinge forward at your waist and lead with your right hand as you lower your heart.
Continue extending the foot into your hand and focus on the path toward your goals, rather than the end result. Breathe deeply for 3–5 breaths, then release your left foot down to meet your right.
6. Seated Meditation with Muladhara Mudra
The Sun’s transition into nourishing Cancer marks a grounding time for coming home to ourselves, connecting to our roots and remembering all that we are grateful for. Muladhara mudra works to activate our root chakra, which is located near the base of the spine and governs our sense of safety, security and stability.
Return to a seated position and take either a Half Lotus with one foot, or simply sit cross-legged in a way that feels comfortable to you. Sit up tall, relax your belly, and close your eyes. Bring your palms together in a prayer at your heart, and then interlace the pinky and ring fingers so they fold inside of your palms. Extend the middle fingers so the tips touch and then interlace the thumbs and index fingers so they form rings around each other, with the fingertips touching. Now flip the mudra upside down and lower your arms slightly, so the middle fingers are pointed downward at your pelvic region.
Breathe deeply, naturally and rhythmically as you root yourself to the earth. Nourish the seeds you’re planting under this powerful full moon and solstice, by watering the cosmic soil and nurturing the process of your individual growth as you expand toward your highest potential.
Photos by Finn Cohen
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, Yoga Journal, Wanderlust Media, 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.