The wisdom of Capricorn teaches us to work with our limitations and to rise above them. This in turn opens the door to transformation, and life comes alive again. In the Capricorn-inspired yoga practice in the Yoga by the Stars book, I have included asanas that restrict and bind the body, such as Eagle Pose (Garudasana), pictured above, and Cow Face Pose (Gomukhasana). These restrictive poses give us the opportunity to relax into difficulty and so find the freedom inherent within the pose.
Below are some Capricorn-inspired meditation questions that will help you to explore your own attitude to approaching a challenging yoga pose:
The way we approach a challenging yoga pose often mirrors how we deal with life’s challenges generally. In a difficult yoga pose we come face to face with our habitual way of reacting to struggle; this opens the door to exiting a negative cycle of reaction and finding a new way of responding.
In asana practice we are continually exploring our boundaries. We discover how far we can push in a pose before we come up against our physical limitations. Then we must decide whether to push further to the point of pain or to back off and come back to our edge. The edge is the place where you feel a stretch, perhaps even mild discomfort, but you haven’t jumped off the cliff edge into pain.
For some people, a yoga asana becomes an enemy to be conquered. Pain is regarded as weakness and something to be pushed through to gain victory over the pose. However, if your experience of a pose is all push and no yield, then you miss out on the peace of yoga. Likewise, in life when challenges come up, if you react by telling yourself “get a grip” or “man up,” you miss out on the warmth of human connection that comes from revealing your softer, more vulnerable side.
Yoga teaches us how to discover the opportunities that lie dormant within our difficulties. When you attempt a challenging yoga pose, you are confronted with your physical, mental, and emotional limitations. If you listen, each asana will teach you how to respond rather than react to whatever arises. Then the skills we learn on the mat can be transferred to responding more skilfully when difficulties arise in life. In this way yoga can be a doorway to self-discovery.
Capricorn in Praise of the Pause
Capricorn: In the Middle of Difficulty Lies Opportunity
At those times in life when it feels as though every door has been shut in our face. We feel heavy, despondent, and lost. The wisdom of Capricorn teaches us to rest in the pause, which is especially relevant at present when the virus has paused so many aspects of our lives. Capricorn's wisdom teaches us to learn to trust that like the New Moon appearing in the night sky, new life will emerge from the darkness. This is the healing power of Capricorn, available to everyone, regardless of their Sun sign.
During the period of Capricorn, we leave behind the old year and walk through the doorway into a new year. The period between the ending of the old year and the beginning of the new one is an in-between time, a pause. Capricorn teaches us to learn to rest in that empty space between an ending and a new beginning. The pause can be a scary, bewildering place, especially if your default mode is keeping busy. The wisdom of Capricorn is that if you can allow yourself to fully experience emptiness, you create a space for new life, and new energy, to fill you up. It’s the medicine you need when you feel all used up, all energy spent, nothing more to give. If you can relax into this emptiness, if you can trust the pause, you will find that new ideas and fresh inspiration will come to fill you up again. The peace of the pause opens the door to rejuvenation and renewal.
Capricorn can be compared to the pause between the out-breath and the next inbreath. In yoga breathing, this pause between the breaths is the place where we find peace, rest, and renewal. It is the place where we allow our self to be emptied, creating the space for new life, new energy, to fill us up. We are literally inspired.
Try this: rest for a few breaths in a relaxing pose such as Child's Pose (Balasana) or Seated forward Bend (Pascimottanasana), and be particularly aware of the exhale, noticing the pause between each exhale and the next inhale. With each exhale feel yourself relaxing a little more deeply.
You will find more Capricorn-inspired yoga ideas in Chapter 13 of the Yoga by the Stars book.
See also: Capricorn: In the Middle of Difficulty Lies Opportunity
The zodiac-inspired yoga practices that I have created for the Yoga by the Stars book have the potential to bring healing and transformation into your life regardless of your own Sun sign. Consequently, you can use all the practices as spiritual medicine to help you to balance and retune your lunar and solar energies. The healing potential of the sign Capricorn is particularly appropriate for these challenging times we are living through.
Capricorn: Transcend limitations and find liberation. Find new ways of working with and overcoming restrictions in your life. Discover the opportunities that lie dormant within your difficulties and open the door to self-discovery.
The wisdom of Capricorn brings us face to face with our limitations and opens the door to exploring fresh ways of working with these restrictions. Our willingness to acknowledge our limitations opens new possibilities of freedom and liberation. We find that in the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.
The affirmation we use in the Capricorn practice is: I am open to new possibilities.
It can be coordinated with the breath:
Inhale: I am open
Exhale: To new possibilities
The wisdom of Capricorn is there for you at those times when life feels like a blank page and no words come. The ink has dried up, and you fear inspiration has run dry. At times when you are filled with self-doubt and feel all used up, it is there like the Sun appearing on the horizon at the start of a new day.
At those times in life when it feels as though every door has been shut in our face. We feel heavy, despondent, and lost. Yoga and the wisdom of Capricorn teach us to rest in the pause. We learn to trust that like the New Moon appearing in the night sky, new life will emerge from the darkness.
Hello, I am Jilly Shipway, the author of Yoga Through the Year, and my forthcoming book Yoga by the Stars. In this Yoga by the Stars blog I will share with you zodiac-inspired yoga insights and inspiration. I also have another blog on my Yoga Through the Year website.