There is a scientific side to yoga that is sometimes overlooked. The original yogis were scientists; they conducted experiments on their bodies and minds and then observed the results. Scientific observation requires an open mind, detachment, and letting go of preconceptions. Aquarius, which is the sign we are looking at this month, teaches us to combine science, creativity, and love to bring healing to ourselves and the world.
Key words for Aquarius are detachedly and scientifically. Louis MacNeice, in his book Astrology, refers to Aquarius as the awakener and “the sign of the yogi through the development of spiritual consciousness through contemplation.” The association of the sign with the third eye, or ajna chakra means it awakens the power of intuition. However, in Aquarius this intuitive insight is always backed up with rational, scientific knowledge. This Aquarian combination of a love for humanity, intuition, and evidence-based scientific knowledge could stand us in good stead as we grapple with modern dilemmas such as climate change, global warming, and vanquishing the virus.
When I was writing the Aquarius chapter of the Yoga by the Stars book, I gained an unexpected insight during a period of meditation, it was this:
Science will win the day if love takes it by the hand.
Science + creativity + love = hope for the world.
Currently, this insight seems particularly relevant as we struggle to find a way of emerging from a global pandemic.
The rulership of Uranus means that Aquarius is a rebel and likes to make waves. Aquarius is an idealistic sign that wants to change the world. If you had been granted three wishes to make the world a better place, what would you wish for? – What small steps could you take to make this ideal world become a reality?
Across the world many of us are living under restrictions that have been imposed to control the spread of the virus. Fortunately, although we may be confined by our circumstances, we can still find a sense of freedom through our practice of yoga. The Aquarius-inspired yoga practice, in the Yoga by the Stars book, is the perfect way to unlock your breath, your body, your mind, and your emotions, when they have become restricted during periods of lock down.
In the Aquarius-inspired yoga practice we use wavelike breathing combined with wavelike movements. We use the affirmation: The wave of the breath ripples through me.
Below is a section from the Aquarius-inspired yoga practice, the rest of the practice can be found in the Yoga by the Stars book.
Instructions for the rest of the Aquarius-inspired yoga practice can be found in the Yoga by the Stars book.
Here in the UK we are once again in Lock down. When you are living in lock down it is easy for your body, your mind, your emotions and your breathing to end up feeling, well, locked down. Today, I found it liberating to use the Aquarius-inspired yoga practice, from the Yoga by the Stars book, as my early morning yoga practice. By the end of the practice I felt open, at ease, and most importantly my breathing had freed up again.
In the Aquarius-inspired yoga practice, from the book, we use wavelike movements that ripple through the body. We use movements that flow into each other in a wavelike fashion, and there is an emphasis on observing the wavelike motion of the breath. Your breath is a wave, rising and falling, ebbing and flowing. The Sun, the Moon, the stars, and the Earth are all there in every breath you take. Wave upon wave, circles within circles, like a cosmic mandala.
The affirmation we use in the practice is: The wave of the breath ripples through me.
It can be coordinated with the breath:
Inhale: The wave of the breath
Exhale: Ripples through me
Find yourself a comfortable lying position. Bring your awareness to the natural rhythm of the flow of your breath. Over several breaths silently repeat this phrase: The wave of the breath ripples through me.
Now imagine that you are on the seashore, watching the waves rising and falling. Keep the image of the sea in your mind, and at the same time bring your awareness back to the natural flow of the breath. Notice the wavelike quality of the ebb and flow of your breath. Every so often return to the phrase: The wave of the breath ripples through me.
In the Aquarius-inspired yoga practice, featured in the Yoga by the Stars book, throughout the practice we keep bringing our awareness back to the wavelike quality of our breathing. At the end of the practice, you might, like me, still be living through lock down, but at least you will have experienced a taste of freedom!
There is a longer version of the Wavelike breathing practice in the Yoga by the Stars book.
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.