26 Oct The Astrology of Yoga
“THE COSMOS IS WITHIN US. WE ARE MADE OF STAR-STUFF. WE ARE A WAY FOR THE UNIVERSE TO KNOW ITSELF.” ― CARL SAGAN
The Astrology of Yoga, by Sasha Boyle
A friend recently asked me what specific yoga pose would help for specific things, this following article, and the class that builds more on the intersection of Yoga and Astrology are the answer. Freebie Handout Coming Soon!
For the last 3000 + years ancient cultures have recorded observations of the visible planets while recording energetic and historical observations in tandem. Ancient cultures often explain the qualities and characteristics of the planet’s nature through archetypes. We now look at the archetypes of the planets to see the prose of mythos. Mars the red and agro god of war can be seen in the tales of the Greek Hades or India’s Kartikeya.
The data that began to be accumulated, poetic or numeric, was divided into two distinct hemispheres, astronomy and astrology. The Sun is one star among the billions in the Milky Way Galaxy. In the Astrologer camp, we take into account where the Sun, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto are and the cycles and elemental qualities of the experience they offer.
Our earthbound human bodies are a literal microcosm of the solar system. The Sun, together with its family of planets, moon, and asteroids tells of an unfolding story of a search for union. And as the Earth orbits the Sun in our outer Solar System, our body contains a completely unique expression of our inner solar system here on earth. This gives us insight into the characteristics of who we are.
Astrology is the language that speaks to this certain energetic potential written in the stars and recorded in the date, time and location of birth in an astrological natal chart. Astrology also creates a path of action through the horoscope. This is how we express our planetary characteristics depending on what zodiac signs they are in.
From our perspective here on Earth, the same astrologers and astronomers took a record of the star patterns and clusters and created an imaginary celestial sphere around our world. They divided the celestial sphere of our milky way into 88 pieces, known as the constellations. Not all stars are in the constellations, but all stars fall within one of the 88 constellation boundaries that is our sky.
Currently, most astrologers work with 12 main constellations, not 88, and they are known as the zodiac. The zodiac is our map, our trajectory, our path as we are cruising through the galaxy.
Starting with kids yoga camp at an age so young I shouldn’t say, and concluding with a Yoga Acharya initiation, or Master of Yoga, I learned classical yoga and Vedanta theory through Swami Vishnu Devanada’s ashrams in Quebec, Canada and Nassau, Bahamas.
A child of divorced parents, my Dad was on summer duty and took me to one of the ashrams pretty regularly. It is only recently I found out my Mom was under the impression he was with me, chaperoning for the whole summer. This fact delights me endlessly because I saw him on the day I arrived at camp and the day I left, and not a moment in between. This was my summer of ferrell yoga training, the best possible situation ever.
Swami Vishnu, who we called Swamiji as both a sign of respect and affection, often told a story of learning how to pilot his airplane. At the instructor’s request, the first task on his list before flying was to check under the hood of the plane. Every time they flew, even when the plane had just been scooting around in the sky with another student, Swamiji’s flight instructor would ask him to check the engine.
This is ridiculous, he thought, the plane is obviously ok because it has been running for hours. But he checked every single time and eventually stopped questioning it and it became a habit.
A life-saving habit as it turned out when years later, Swamiji not even thinking but rather just doing went through the motions of checking the plane’s engine preflight to find a bird’s nest in the engine.
The nifty little plane was galactic as it had the Cosmos painted on by artist Peter Max and gave an unintentional hippie vibe to his public persona. The flying swami was a nickname given to him by the press for his 1971ish peace missions to Northern Ireland, Suez Canal, Pakistan/Indian border and Berlin, where he bombed the land with flowers and peace pamphlets in his piper apache twin-engine plane. Swamiji was a disciple of Sivananda Saraswati and their unbroken chain of yoga lineage can be traced to the Vedic sage Adi Sankaracharaya (788-802 CE).
The philosophy of Vedanta is a philosophy of action and at the same time Mesopotamian cultures were naming the planets and charting the stars, so too were the ancient people on the Indian subcontinent. Two of the great ancient vedic sages of that yoga draws on today are Patanjali and Adi Sankaracharya. They took the Vedic texts of the Upanishads of the four Vedas and synthesized the type of Yoga known as classical yoga.
There are 4 main paths of yoga:
- Raja Yoga, physical and mental control
- Jnana Yoga, right inquiry
- Karma Yoga, action (as selfless service)
- Bhakti Yoga, devotion
The Yoga popular in modern culture and the focus of this article is a type of Raja Yoga known as asanas, the physical posture.The Vedic direction for activating the planets in your own personal cosmos, your body, can be achieved through mantras. Here is a Link to Sasha’s Freebie on Planets + Mantras + Chakras. Taking your inner solar system on your walk through life and achieving physical balance and union, however, is through asana–the hatha yoga taught in Patanjali’s yoga sutras.
In classical hatha yoga, there are 12 basic asanas. Only 12 — all other postures are considered variations of the core 12. The sequence is very specific (as seen in this poster) and is the exact order I learned and have taught so many times:
- Sitting forward bend
- Half spinal twist
- Balancing pose (crow | peacock)
- Standing forward bend
[The sun salutation and final relaxation are not considered part of the class sequence, rather they are considered warm-up and cool down. ]
Our human body is a literal solar system, a macrocosm containing its own sun, planets, and moon who express themselves uniquely through the planetary archetypes.
But this is not the only expression of the cosmos in our experience as a human. Our perception of the qualitative shift of time is represented on the constellation plane-the horoscope. We take our planets for a walk through time, basically.
Astrologer Richard Tardiness says it best in Cosmos and Psyche when he says:
“The birth of any being or phenomena whether a person, a work of art, or cultural movement, a historical phenomenon, a nation, a community or any other organism or creative emergence — is seen as reflecting and embodying the archetypal dynamics implicit at the time of birth and creativity and folding those dynamics over the course of its life.”
Like there are 12 core yoga poses, there are 12 horoscope signs. When overlapped, they match exactly in terms of the physical and medical benefit of each posture with the known physical planetary rulership of each sign. We are taught to create a moving horoscope with their body to strive for unity and balance. The image below is the horoscopic wheel. This wheel is the order of the horoscope from Aries to Pisces, it mirrors exactly the order of classical yoga’s postures passed down over time.
1st + 10th HOUSE
The current extreme astrology climate, that frustration or volatility you may be witnessing or feeling is happening in the anular houses – the 1st (Aries) and the 10th (Capricorn) houses, which are cardinal points. These are areas to pay attention to. Mars in Aries is in a hard aspect with Jupiter, Pluto and Saturn. Are they working to transform our world?
What asanas can help?
ARIES Headstand – House + Position 1
SIRSHASAN. The headstand is an inverted posture where the hands, arms and elbows create a tripod to balance the body on. The head is supported in interlaced fingers as the top of the head connects with the mat, the spine is erect and the yogi improves circulation, strengthens the respiratory system and heart, and promotes relaxation through the asana. The pituitary and pineal glands are stimulated and circulation and concentration are directed to the head.
ARIES is the ruler of the first house and is not coincidentally the first position. Aries the ram is ruled by Mars and Mars rules the head, blood, and muscles. This hot and headstrong sign likes to take things from the top and the secret to a beautiful headstand isn’t how close you can get to the wall and kick up, no. The secret to a good headstand is the stable base you create patiently with your arms and the practice of going into child’s pose before and after your asana. The child’s pose is a way for your blood to find equilibrium from the dramatic shift of having your world turned upside down.
Disclaimer: Persons with high blood pressure should not go into full headstand, but the alternative pose of the dolphin may be suitable.
Alternatives: Dolphin & Scorpion
CAPRICORN Balancing pose (crow) – house + position 10
KAKASANA. The crow pose is a balancing asana where the yogi squats to sit on her toes keeping the knees apart. With hands firmly on the floor, rest the knees on the respective arms. Pick a spot on the floor to focus on and raise the toes, leaning forward and slowly balance yourself. Stay as long as possible. Repeat three to four times. Practicing the crow improves your concentration and greatly strengthens your wrists, arms and shoulders.
CAPRICORN in the 10th house of career and work is ruled by Saturn. The temperament of Capricorn is melancholic, cold + dry and these goal oriented sea goats will find a way to get it done. Knees are ruled by Capricorn and while in the crow pose, the yogi needs to strategize where the best knee position is. The Secret to the crow pose, like the secret to having a hard Capricorn transit, is to lean in far enough to keep your mind from wandering while focusing your attention solely on keeping your balance.
Similar to how swamiji’s flight instructor trained him by having him go through the motions of physically preparing the plane for flight, I believe Swami Veshnu Devnanda left clues for how we can navigate the horoscope through a classical yoga class.
In the upcoming WISE SKIES Astrology of Yoga class we will go through each house and explore each of the 12 classical yoga poses and the asana positions relation to ancient astrology. This is not a physical class – you can enjoy your chai and listen to Sasha teach. We will also have lots of yogi astro-goodies –sign up here.
Sasha Boyle is an astrologer and Wise Skies intuitive based out of Pennsylvania. “The year 2020 is requiring we up our energetic game and I invite you to see how astrology can help you do just that! It is my goal to use help people get deeper insight into accessing their creativity. Let’s walk as a rising army of creative optimists who use art making to uplift ourselves and our culture.” Find more of Sasha’s work at: https://sashaboyle.com/.
Check out Sasha’s next eShram – virtual VACATION: Dec 16-30, 2020
WISESKIES 50% discount = $50 program for us! –SASHABOYLE.COM
Designed to recharge your batteries using the 5 paths of yoga: asana, pranayama, savasana, proper diet, and positive thinking & meditation.
Begin with a personalized natal reading, and ending with a map of your 2021 astrology this 2-week virtual vacation is a slice of my experience of the Sivananda Yoga Vacation growing up, plus astrology. At your own pace, this virtual experience is something different and inspired by the ashram daily schedule. We will cover important info for your 2021.
eShram Astrology + Yoga Vacation https://sashaboyle.com/order-