The full moon in Aquarius happening on August 15th can bring an intense energy and shift. This particular full moon opposes the sun which is in Leo. As the Aquarius is an air sign, this is about mental activity and thinking. The Leo is a fire sign and it rules the heart, so it's all about passion and living from your heart space.
Aquarians are great visionaries and can usually see the bigger picture. Due to the cognitive energy from this air sign, sometimes Aquarians can feel emotionally detached or may seems as emotionally detached because they lead more from the mind. Leo on the other hand brings an energy of passion and love. The leo energy is all about power, ambition and creating. When the energies of the two signs combine, we can experience more drive and mental clarity. The leo can also lead from the solar plexus, the energy centre of power in the body, which can also relate to the ego. So during this full moon, we can learn to understand how we are manifesting our personal power, is it through the ego (desire and illusion) or is it from the heart space (passion and pure intention)?
To create a healthy, harmonious flow between the energies this full moon in Aquarius brings, we can engage in wellness practices that bring clarity to the mind and openness in the physical body so that we can go back to the source, our heart space. Journaling, walking outdoors, spending time with loved ones or any creative endeavour that empower you to express yourself freely are wonderful ways to channel in this energy.
Practicing yoga of course can help us towards this harmony and create space in the body and mind so we can feel free to feel, move and create. This warrior sequence involves Warrior I, II, III, reverse warrior and humble warrior. When practicing these asanas, we can feel more empowered and focused, powerful yet humble. These asanas teach us that real strength lies in being patient and in being focused on our path. The warrior provides with a silent strong energy, without needing to be extravagant or loud about this inner strength. The energy of the warrior poses teach us to believe in ourselves and self-worth, but without arrogance or illusion.
From Tadasana, take a step back with your left leg and keep the left foot on a diagonal, slightly inwards. Bend your right knee and bring your torso to face the right leg. Bring your arms up, parallel to one another and palms together. Slightly pull the tummy in, and keep a straight spine. Bring your gaze up towards your palms.
To get step by step instructions for Virabhadrasana II, click here .
To get step by step instructions fro Viparita Virabhadrasana, click here .
From warrior II, bring your palms together at the back and lean forward with your upper body, bringing the head towards the inner part of the foot of the bent leg. Bring the arms up at the back to open the shoulders and chest.
To get step by step instructions in Virabhadrasana III, click here.
To channel this full moon energy, a moon meditation can also be beneficial. During the evening of the full moon, you can go outside and meditate whilst watching the moon. Lying down or in a comfortable seated position, allow yourself to embrace the energy it vibrates within and around you and to feel more connected to it. When it comes to the sun, we are more eager to be exposed to it because it vibrates light and warmth, but the moon can have a deeper, less bright energy which we might not feel so comfortable with. But we all have these qualities within and connecting with the moon, is like facing yourself from all aspects and surrendering to all.
When going through a break-up, a loss of a loved one or any other experience which can affect your overall wellbeing, a gentle self-care approach is important. Take it slow and learn to connect with your body once again, to create stillness through the mind and finally to let go of judgement of pressure to bounce back to your energised self. The healing journey can be as slow or fast as you need it to be and learn to honour this. Whilst people around you can give you support or advice, they cannot feel how you feel. Stay true to yourself and give yourself time to go through it all and release it when you are ready. When you face the darkness, know that this is a part of your inner just how light also is. And to come back to the light and clarity, we must experience the darkness as it is, release it and connect back with that inner light.
Opening our heart is healthy and energising, but when we are going through tough times and a healing journey, we must be kind and gentle. Sometimes it takes time to open ourselves to our vulnerability and expose our fears. So an asana practice that takes us through the steps of going inwards first, is good to start with. Through this process, we can connect back to our true self, the true essence of our soul. This sequence can be practiced at any time of the day, although during the morning is even more beneficial. As you wake up, giving attention to your mind, body and emotional self is part of a healthy daily routine which will create harmony for all part of the self before you start your day.
Balasana or child’s pose requires no physical effort although it plays an important role for our emotional and mental wellbeing. When we curl up in this asana, it’s like giving ourselves a nice big hug. During this asana, rest your forehead on the mat, and take your attention inward. First start with your breath, noticing its flow and rhythm without trying to control it. Observe what type of energetic feels this asana brings to you and allow them to just be. Whilst in balasana, create an intention for your practice and the day ahead. You can use an affirmation such as “I am a beautiful, vibrant soul and I open to release everything that no longer aligns with my highest self”. This affirmation will bring you to connect with your soul, your true essence and acknowledge that you are ready to let go of whatever is impeding you to live as your beautiful, vibrant soul.
Although this asana opens the heart centre, it does so in a way that we expose our vulnerability to ourselves and not outward. This creates a different energy shift than a backbend, which opens the heart space to the world. Extended puppy-pose releases tension from the shoulders, which are also part of ahanata, the heart energy centre. There is a famous saying “We hold the weight of the world on our shoulders” and when this area feels tight and heavy, it can mean that we take on too much from others. The more we do this, our posture is affected and instinctually we begin to close off, shrugging the should and bringing them inward. Such postures can add to the feeling of low self-esteem, because the way we stand affects our overall state. Utthana shishosana also stretches the digestive organs and the stomach area. In this area, we store emotions which we are unable to process, or fears. When experiencing anxiety for example, the stomach is greatly affected and the release of cortisol will cause an unhealthy digestion and metabolism. This asana can also be practiced with a bolster under your chest, to provide you support.
In my opinion, baddha konasana is one of the most challenging yet effective asanas when going through a healing journey. This great hip opener may not require much physical strength, but activates our emotional and mental self to become aware of the great pressure we have stored in our hips and inner thighs. As you bring your elbows to the inner crease of your knees and begging to open the hips more, you will notice that you can continue to go further. Be still for a while whilst in this asana, and notice that if you give yourself some time, slowly, you will be able to open a little bit more and so on. It might not be in one, two or the next five practices. It might not happen for months, it really depends the time you require to let go. But eventually, one day you will release all that tension and blockage and you will experience the blessing of emotional freedom. As you come out of this asana, bring your hands to your knees and slowly bring the knees together, supported by your hands. Especially if you stayed here for a few minutes, be gentle as you come back with your legs together.
Wide angle seated forward bend is another asana that takes us inward, releasing tension from the back of the legs, & the hips. It’s important to work on the lower part of the body first as this is our foundation. If we can free this part and working on balancing Mooladhara, the root chakra, we can create a stronger, more grounded foundation. When we do so, whatever experiences we have or chaos we experience, we can still remain in balance. Start in staff pose, on your bottom with your upper body straight and your legs open, resting on the floor (add a block under your bottom if you are feeling really tight and tend to bend your knees). With an inhale, lift your arms up and slowly bring the upper part of your body to meet the lower. Allow yourself to stay here for a little bit, observe what is going on within with no reaction and come to listen to the sound of your own silence.
When it comes to emotional wellbeing, it’s important to always acknowledge your current state with no judgement. Emotional blockages can be created in many different ways, but most often it is through the resistance of these that they form as blocked energy. As it’s not always pleasant to accept them, instead we choose to bottle them inside so that we don’t have to face “the reality”. The truth is, emotions, just as thoughts, come and go. But this only happens if we bring our awareness to our present state, accept it, understand it with no judgement and then release it.
As the mind and the physical body are connected, any negative thought and emotional patterns that you may experience can be stored in different parts of the body, which result in stiffness, discomfort and even disease in some cases. Negative or emotional blockages are usually stored in the hips and thighs. Through specific asana practice, we can learn to release and reach emotional freedom. Hip opening asanas teach us to let go and open Swadishthana, the sacral chakra. As the hips are part of this energy centre, when we work on balancing the sacral chakra, we regain our joy for life. Swadishthana governs pleasure in life, self-love, the feminine energy of the self and creativity. Balancing this chakra through specific asanas, creates space for all these aspects to abundantly manifest themselves. We fall in love with life and find the sweetness of it, learning to enjoy every moment.
Releasing tension in the hips also brings us closer to our feminine self, embracing the nurturing loving, grounded and open to receive qualities. We are only able to receive when we create space and a welcoming intention for it. Hip opening asanas can be challenging especially if you have a lot of tension in this area so take it one step at a time. Practice these asanas with gentleness and care, without pushing your body to open too much before it is ready. Remember that as you let go from the hips, this release also occurs in your emotional self, so take it slow. Know that hatha yoga is not about reaching the asana, but it is about the journey you are experiencing when exploring the asana. When you practice the below poses, bring your awareness to the sensations in the hip area. Notice how you might be resisting the opening and breathe through it, learning to surrender. Give yourself a little bit of time during each one, allowing your body to open at its own pace.