Expansion is one of the key words associated with the sign Sagittarius, other key words are widely, deeply, and free-ranging. The symbol for the sign is a centaur, which is half-horse and half-human. The power of the hips and thighs are said to be Sagittarian, and this correlates with the desire to travel far and wide. The sign conjures up images of freedom, wide open spaces, blue skies, and wild horses roaming free across moorland. At a time when the virus has imposed many restrictions on our lives, regardless of what our own sign is, we can look to Sagittarius to inspire us to expand our sense of what is possible.
There are many obstacles that prevent us from travelling far and wide at present. Here in the UK we are just beginning a month long lock down. However, although we are limited in where we can physically travel, there is no limit to where we can go in our imagination! We can visualise beautiful places without all the hassle of airport security! We can also practice mindfulness so that we fully enjoy the beauty of where we are now. We can be present to and savour the sound of autumn leaves underfoot, clouds rushing across a blue sky, wind on our face, a child's smile, the sun setting, the moon rising, or stars in the night sky.
A few years ago I heard an interview with a blind man who had climbed Kilimanjaro and he was making a tough expedition to the South Pole. He said, "Whatever your disability, think about what you can do, not your limitations." At the time I heard those words I was struggling with anxiety, and it was causing me to avoid certain situations, which was creating limitations in my life. I decided to adopt the mantra, "Think about what you can do, and not your limitations", and this enabled me to stop being so focussed on what anxiety was preventing me from doing, and to start doing the things I was able to do. In turn, once I was doing more, my confidence increased and I was more able to tolerate the inevitable anxiety that comes from taking on new challenges. I've also found this positive can-do approach has helped during the current Coronavirus crisis. Although I think it is important to acknowledge our sadness and sense of loss over the things we are no longer able to do because of the virus restrictions, at the same time I think it's good to be on the lookout for those activities that we are safely able to do, and so expand our horizons.
Our yoga practice can also help to stop our world from shrinking, and help us to maintain an expansive, open attitude. With all the uncertainty in the world it's easy to develop a pattern of anxiously holding your breath in anticipation of events to come. Your yoga practice will remind you to breathe. You will feel yourself expanding and drawing in life energy as you inhale, and relaxing a you exhale. Life comes alive again.
Our meditation practice can also help us to cultivate an attitude of joyfulness, even in the face of difficulties, and bring light into the darkness. The Breathe and Smile Meditation, included in the Sagittarius chapter of the Yoga by the Stars book, encourages you to maintain a clear, focused attention while at the same time joyfully lightening up. The meditation fits in with the cheerful optimism and joviality that is associated with the Sagittarius sign.
The Breathe and Smile Meditation
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.