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
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.