Find your balance through every zodiac season with our Astrology & Asanas series by yoga instructor, Astrostyle editor (and harmonious Libra) Andrea Rice. Follow along with these postures to connect to the natural rhythms of life, enhance perceptivity and elevate your spirit.
Stimulate your senses! Taurus season (April 20-May 20) gets us into a grounded groove. Using yoga to embody the qualities of the slow-and-steady Bull, we can build foundations and activate our voice.
Ego Eradicator: Earthy Warrior I
The Bull 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.
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.
Down & Dirty: Downward Dog with 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 to 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.
Yoga and Astrology “101”
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. We cannot be “born again” until outmoded parts of ourselves are released. It is only when we stop spinning our wheels and actually witness our patterns that we may 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.
Photos credit: Beth Kessler Photography
Andrea Rice is a writer, author, movement and meditation teacher, and yoga festival presenter. Her articles and essays have appeared in The New York Times, Yoga Journal, The Wanderlust Journal, mindbodygreen, SONIMA, and Astrostyle, among other publications. She has been teaching yoga since 2010, first in Brooklyn and Manhattan and now Raleigh, NC, where she currently resides. She is currently co-authoring a book about the application of seasonal rhythms and yoga philosophy to modern life which will be published in early 2020. Follow her on Facebook and Instagram, and sign up for her quarterly newsletter on her website: www.andreariceyoga.com.