The Leo-inspired yoga practice, from my book Yoga by the Stars, is the go-to yoga practice whenever you need to be nurtured and empowered. It is centring, energising, uplifting, and creates stability, releasing tension and blocked energy. It's a grounding, sunny, strengthening practice that increases confidence and courage. So, the perfect practice for those of us tentatively coming out of lock-down and bracing ourselves to face the world again! I used it as my early morning yoga practice today, and by the end of it I felt less of the quivering, small, nervous animal coming out of hibernation, and more in touch with the brave lion within!
In the Leo-inspired yoga practice, we aim to build fierce, unshakeable confidence in tandem with a compassionate, loving heart. We draw our inspiration in this practice from the strength and courage of a lion as well as the lioness’s ability to cooperate lovingly with other lionesses in her pride. Our intention to build a strength that is tempered by love is encapsulated in our affirmation for the practice, which is: My strength is powered by love.
The affirmation My strength is powered by love,felt perfect for me this morning. I really enjoyed coordinating a shortened version with the breath. Inhale: strength. Exhale: love. This works really well if you coordinate it with movement, for example inhale and affirm "strength" as you raise your arms, exhale and affirm "love" as you lower them. You can try it out with dynamic, moving versions of the postures, such as Child’s Pose (Balasana) into Upward-Facing Dog Pose (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana).
Of course, no Leo-inspired yoga practice would be complete without the playfully fierce Lion Pose (Simhasana). In the Leo practice we use it dynamically as part of the warm-up for the practice.
The Leo-inspired practice, begins and ends with a seated Sun Visualisation. This is wonderfully centring and guaranteed to calm the emerging from lock-down jitters and the still in lock-down blues!
Seated Sun Visualisation
Find yourself a comfortable, erect seated position. Picture in your mind’s eye the Sun symbol, which is a dot within a circle. Then imagine that you are drawing a circle of light around yourself. Picture yourself as the Sun at the centre of this circle. Now picture a sun, at your solar plexus, radiating light and warmth around your body. Silently repeat this affirmation three times: My strength is powered by love.
The above Leo-inspired yoga practice ideas are from the Yoga by the Stars book, which will be published early December 2020, and is available for pre-order on Amazon.
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.