When considering what to share from my practice this month, the idea of pace came to mind as a relevant theme.

As I tried to write about it, it became overly complex.  So I am going back to basics and simply sharing some personal thoughts that I hope are useful for you.

Years ago, I read an article by the excellent teacher of the Vedic sciences, Robert Svoboda, regarding the cultivation of Prana.  Prana is the Sanskrit term for subtle energy, similar to the Chinese term Chi.

The article had a wonderful effect on me during an especially difficult period of life.  I felt stuck and thwarted in many ways then, and was undoubtedly being hard on myself.  Why was I so slow?  Why did I have no energy?  These were constant, semi-conscious questions I circulated in my mind.

I share with you the first paragraph of this article and a few reflections about how it helped me and informs me to this day.

Whoever you may be, and wherever you may live, you live your life well when you live it at the right rate. Plow your way through life and life will wear you out; poke your way along and your life will grind to a halt. Find a pace that suits you, though, and amble along it accordingly, and your world will spontaneously level a path for you.

The article goes into some depth about yogic matters that I jive with, but what struck me right away was the possibility that slow was my pace.  That being upset about my pace was perhaps the drain of energy.  That maybe it was time to surrender to a deeper understanding of my rhythm, and to life’s rhythm for me.

This insight paradoxically allowed me to slow down more, to drop down deeper, to rest and rejuvenate, to ask different questions, to hear from my heart, and to follow my heart.

In this period since, about 5 years now, I understand my pace more and I do my daily best to honor it and amble along accordingly.    I don’t expect the world to spontaneously level my path but I do seem to understand more what is meant by such a statement.

Our pace connects us to our heart.  Our heart emanates our unique emotional and spiritual longing.  This is what influences the course of our path.

May you know and honor your pace.  May your heart illuminate your path.

May our practice and our healing be of benefit to the whole world.

Here is a link to the entire article for those that are inspired: Prana

Vedic Astrology Highlights Fall 2015 & Super Blood Moon Lunar Eclipse September 27th

 

We have a Solar and Lunar Eclipse this month.  Here are the Highlights of what is UP.

The Solar Eclipse will occur later this night that I write.  It is partial and will not be visible to us in the USA.  Yet the energy of an eclipse effects the whole planet, perhaps more so where they are visible.

This occurs in the sign of Leo, in the later section of the constellation called Purva Phalguni- it is associated with wealth so there is some buzz in the astrology community about this having impact on the global economy.  Some say the wild ride the stock market just took is indicative of this energy fluctuation.  Particular effects may be felt for 6 months.

Eclipses are considered inauspicious periods to initiate new endeavors.  They are auspicious for spiritual attunement and refinement.  As we know, life often insists we do things in spite of the signs and omens.  Truly, the key is to have a daily practice that purifies your heart and mind in some way.  This is the key to weathering whatever will come.

It is also considered helpful when the solar eclipse happens before the lunar.  We always have eclipses in pairs and this time the lunar eclipse will follow and be fully visible for us in Tucson.  It is quite powerful as it is a total eclipse and the moon is close to the Earth in its orbit- this is called a super moon.  It is also interesting as it happens early in the evening- it will be fully eclipsed around 8pm Tucson time.  Easy to witness and meditate upon.

Again, there is lots of lore regarding everything and it is said that it is not good to be outside during an eclipse- that you are personally negatively affected by it.  But in this day and age, when we are disconnected from so many natural rhythms, I sense it is a remedy; a way to honor the subtle and the shadow element of life, to witness the celestial phenomenon and strengthen our commitment to light.

The lunar eclipse occurs Sunday night, September 27. It occurs in Pisces, in the section called Uttara Bhadra Pada.  It is associated with the flow of water, purification, renewal, and release from long held patterns.  It is the water that smooths the stones.  I hope you get to experience and enjoy this event in some way.

Lunar Eclipse Tucson

Mars in Leo: September 16-November 3

Mars is leaving its 2 month sojourn through the sign of Cancer, which is its sign of debility/ difficulty.

This is a big shift for Mars energy.  In anyone’s chart Mars signifies raw energy, courage, power, brothers, and land.  In the fire sign of Leo the King it regains its sense of being a spiritual warrior.  This is very significant if you are Aries or Scorpio Rising or Moon by birth. You will feel empowered again.

Sun in Virgo: September 17-October 17

The Sun will soon change signs- from Leo to Virgo.  There is quite a bit of intensity in this yearly visit as Rahu is here and Mercury turns retrograde this same day. September 22-24 are very intense Solar days.  Be extra mindful and curious.

Mercury Retrograde: September 17-October 8

Mercury is retrograde in its own sign of Virgo, that is good in ways as it spends more time in one of its places of power and amplifies all kinds of Mercury and Virgo related things:  intellectual and organizational activities, service and healing matters especially.  It backtracks right into the Sun, full combustion, September 29-30. These are days that Virgo or Mercury people could feel inspired yet depleted.  It retrogrades into Rahu October 7-8 and then goes direct.  These could be interesting days for Mercury’s mental energy- creativity and innovation abound.  But be careful with important decisions.  Rahu is a trickster energy!

 

In the Vedic understanding of macrocosm and microcosm, our connection to the universe comes from within.  The energies of the universe flow through our consciousness and being from the causal to the astral to the physical level.  Therefore, in some ways thinking about astrology as up – as an outer phenomenon – is inaccurate. Chew on that as I move on to the news.

One piece of important news is that Jupiter has changed signs.  Jupiter takes one year to transit one sign of the zodiac.  So we get a different flavor of Jupiter every year.   Jupiter is a general signifier of children, teachers, knowledge and wealth.  Its natural energy is positive, expansive, joyful.  For the last year it was in the sign of Cancer, which is the sign of the moon, mother, emotional nurturance.  This is a powerful transit of Jupiter that only happens every 11 years.

Jupiter has now moved into the sign of Leo, the sign of the sun, father, self-expression.  Cancer is a water sign, Leo is a fire sign.  They are both royal signs, both sattvic signs, meaning when planets are there at birth or by transit- they are inclined towards the good, towards their best nature.  So Jupiter in Leo could be very positive for us all.  It brings some fire to our minds and our visions, it could improve relations with our father or shine light on our issues with masculine power structures.

It always depends on how your personal chart operates, but reflect on the last year- from last July to now- what was the flavor of Jupiter in Cancer?  And envision what it might be this year- something similar but more masculine.  Also, if you want to explore how the planets affect your subtle energy- what was the recent period of July 8 to July 18th like?  This 10 day period Jupiter was passing over a sensitive knot in the zodiac- it can confuse us energetically and bring up deeper issues.  I activated a back injury during the time.  I knew the dates and was attempting to pay attention, but it wasn’t until my back ached and stopped me from doing that I got the real message. Don’t stir the pot, slow down and feel deeper, otherwise you will be forced to listen.  Nothing serious for me, just another reminder of how this subtle energy practice works.

The other news right now is that Saturn is preparing to change course.  It is currently transiting the sign of Scorpio.  It had moved to 10 degrees and then stopped and turned retrograde in mid-March.  Saturn is the slowest visible planet, it takes 30 years for it to transit the entire zodiac, requiring 2 ½ years to transit one sign.  When Saturn moves retrograde, things seem to go even slower.  It can make us feel like we are standing still in some way or losing ground.

Saturn in Scorpio is not an easy transit in general as Scorpio is the sign related to our deepest karmas- in yoga what is called our vasanas- and it is ruled by Mars.  Saturn and Mars are both difficult energies, so in a way the entire transit brings them up against each other in our own being.  Saturn is more an old, withholding, cold, critical energy, Mars is more youthful, brash, hot, and reactive energy.  This is a great time to be looking at this in your life.  What has felt stuck or blocked since March?  How may it be related to a core psycho-emotional issue for you?  As Saturn slows, stops and turns direct July 30-August 4 you have the potential to get new traction.  Things will start to move a bit again, take this time to clarify what is the right direction.

One other briefer planetary happening is Venus is stopping and turning retrograde in Leo, July 25. This intensifies Venus energy for a while. It will also be in exact conjunction with Jupiter in Leo on August 2-7.  When you look up in the night sky, you will see the 2 bright planets merging, almost looking like one bright star.  When planets optically connect like this, we call it a war in Vedic astrology, the 2 energies battling each other.  It can bring extra brilliance but it more often brings dissipation on some level- one energy vanquishing another.  So these are days to simply be extra mindful.  Like I was noting with my Jupiter experience in mid-July.

One final thought about Venus, if you know your chart and you are Taurus or Libra rising or moon, you are more affected by Venus’s transits.  August 11 to 15 are also tricky Venus days.

Winter Solstice 2014 – Dakshinayana

Solstice in our hemisphere marks the shortest day, the longest night, and the beginning of Winter. In the Vedic Calendar the period from Summer to Winter Solstice is called Dakshinayana , the dark half of the year.  The energy of waning light is similar to the dark half of the month, but more pronounced.

In mythology this part of the year is when the demons prevail and the gods are subdued.  The correlation to human affairs has been to traditionally use the dark half of the year for planning and purification as the tide of consciousness is more negative.

The exact point of Solstice in Tucson will occur at 4:03 pm on December 21st 2014, followed by the New Moon at 6:35 pm. An interesting coincidence this year is that the moon is also very dark, meaning close to the Sun.  They are in the constellation called Mula which means root and aligns with the center of or our galaxy.  In Vedic Astrology this constellation has deep significance.  It is place of healing and reconciliation if one knows how to be fierce and work with darkness.

It is a powerful day to pause and reflect on events and experiences of the last six months, or deeper back into your past.  Our lives move fast.  We have much that is undigested and unassimilated that yearns for the light of our consciousness to return to it.  We are easily distracted from what really matters.  Now is the ideal time.

Ask yourself: What has occurred? What has impacted me?  What needs light?  What is the essential message for my healing?  What will help me more forward anew?  Be brave. Be kind.  Be Fierce.  As Krishna says to Arjuna on the eve of his battle, “On this path no effort is wasted, no gain is ever reversed; even a little of this practice will shelter you from great sorrows.”

As we approach the Winter Solstice I am reflecting on the last six months since Summer Solstice.  This is the waning phase of the year, the days growing shorter.  Traditionally, this is an auspicious time for planning and preparation.  What have you been up to? What is the theme of your past 6 months?

The Vedic understanding of time is vast and incorporates eons. Our individual lives are part of an enormous whole.  We come from the invisible womb of being and return there, again and again until the soul’s journey is complete.  We are made of stars and possess the innate intelligence of the universe.  This is a theory of course, an ancient way of framing the unknown, a poetic contemplation.  It is true that we are literally made of stars, the same substance of the universe.

Time is personified as Kala Purusha. The word Kala contains sounds related to the beginning, middle, and end of all manifested things.  Purusha is the essence of consciousness, beyond manifestation.  The implication is that we each have a time limited opportunity to express our essence.  We are all bound by time and go through cycles of time; natural, collective, and personal.

Classically, yoga practices are designed to work with natural cycles, to help us be in harmony with the deeper pulse of the planet and cosmos.  For instance, dawn and dusk are the considering the most powerful times to meditate and pray.

Collective cycles relate to our family, our peers, our place on the earth.  Consider your family’s cycles,   your generation’s expectations of life (boomers, x’s, millennials), the cycles of your neighborhood, your city, state, country?   Can you sense how this contemplation of time turns us towards the complicated subject of karma?  Why me?  Why not me?

There is a great Hindu story regarding how personal time cycles affect even the mighty Shiva.   It is believed that we all go through regular periods where the harsh gaze of Saturn tests us and transforms us.  It is called Sade Sati, the 7 ½ years of Saturn, and occurs every 23 years or so in a person’s life. When you are in Saturn’s gaze specifically, depends on personal birth factors.

The story goes that Saturn was the student of Shiva, yet still had to do his duty and cast his terrible gaze upon his guru.  Shiva tried to outwit him by submerging himself in the River Ganges for the entire 7 ½ years.
When he emerged he was delighted with his feat and cried,
“Oh Saturn! What could you do to Me?”
Saturn replied,
“You call that doing nothing to You?”

Where ever you are in regards to Saturn, in regards to your personal cycle, may the new phase of the year bring you deeper peace, greater wisdom, and fruition of your current hopes and dreams.

Happy Solstice, Happy Holidays.

Natasha

 

 

There are 2 Free Mindful Meditation classes in December

December 8th we will honor the mindfulness methods of Thich Nhat Hanh.
Present Moment, Wonderful Moment: Experiencing Mindfulness

December 15th a mindful practice related to the change of seasons.
The Fruitful Darkness: An Evening of Mindfulness Practice

All are invited to attend either or both classes:
Simply register 
No experience is necessary.

 

Ongoing Class

Meditative Yoga Sundays (Class continues uninterrupted thru the Holidays)
10 – 11:30 am at The Movement Shala 435 E. Ninth Street

Class happens every week without fail.  You never have to wonder.  On the rare occasions I am away, one of our regular students, who is also a trained teacher, subs and you get to experience someone else who appreciates meditative yoga.  Downtown is flourishing too, with great places for Sunday brunch- come to class, stay and play!  First time students are always free.
$10 class or $32 for a 4 class pass

 

Upcoming

Winter 2015 MBSR Schedule

MBSR Free Information & Introduction Session For Winter 2015 – Monday January 5th

Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Program MBSR Winter 2015 – Monday January 12th

Please see the full Schedule and Complete details here

The Year of Jupiter: Ho, Ho, Ho

June 18th Jupiter entered Cancer and will enjoy an entire year in its favorite sign.  As I begin to speak of Jupiter I want to clarify that it is common to speak about the planets as live beings rather than objects.  They are called grahas or graspers as they grasp or influence our mind in general and specific ways.  Personification is not literal, yet like myth, articulates something intimate and meaningful about the nature of reality.  So let’s meet Jupiter and consider how he might influence us this year.

The sage Parashara says Jupiter has: large limbs, is heavy, has yellow hair and eyes; his constitution is phlegmatic (kapha), he is intelligent and endowed with all branches of learning.

In the myth The Greatness of Saturn all the planets are described thoroughly, Jupiter being a: big, benign, jovial man …big bellied body with a broad, prominent chest and a voice like a lion’s.  His body, hair, and eyes are of tawny hue that shines like pure gold…fond of sweets, he wears yellow clothes and yellow flowers…He possesses all virtues and is modest, forgiving, and happy.  His mind and senses are disciplined and his intellect subtle.  Attached to ritual, he follows the path of righteousness.  His metal is gold and his gem topaz…Lord of the body’s fat…of Thursday…He is called Teacher of the Immortals, the Soul, the Advisor, the Lord of Speech, the Golden, the Creator, the Irresistible, He Who Wears Yellow, the Young, Worthy of Worship Throughout the World, the Compassionate, Creator of Polity, Remover of Oppression, and the Peaceable.

Get the picture?  Know anyone Jupiter like?  Envision Santa Clause in a yellow suit!

Why does Jupiter exalt in Cancer?  This is how I understand it.  Cancer is the sign ruled by the Moon; the Moon represents our emotional and perceptual mind; Jupiter brings joy, wisdom, and delight right into us here.  Cancer is the sign of the mother, and mother is our original connection to love and nurturance.  Cancer is a water sign and all the water signs in astrology are associated with moksha or enlightenment.  There are different flavors of Cancer depending on the degree, but this is the general atmosphere Jupiter will be in for the year.

On a practical level, this is a good time to be considering how you want to utilize this extra dose of Jupiter juice.  If you know what house Cancer is in your birth-chart this is a clue of how it may naturally manifest.  Right now, Saturn is affecting Cancer so growth and expansion may be slowed down; in early November, Saturn shifts and Jupiter’s energy is more abundant.  So this is the time to plan and prepare.

There are many names for Jupiter as you have read above; my favorite is Guru, dispeller of darkness.  Om Shri Gurugi Namaha!

 

Rahu moves to Virgo/Ketu moves to Pisces: July 12th

As I said so much about Jupiter this time, I will be brief regarding Rahu and Ketu.  They are called the shadow planets as they do not physically exist; they are mathematical points that correspond to the orbit of the moon.  These points are how we accurately predict eclipses.

They are always opposite each other and move opposite the planets in the horoscope.  Their meanings are likewise opposite each other.  In the simplest description we could say Rahu increases our craving and desiring tendencies and Ketu increases our aversive and withdrawing tendencies.

Their movement through one sign takes 18 months, thus when they enter a new sign it is significant.  July 12, Rahu will enter Gemini and Ketu will enter Pisces.  Please note that July 12-14 Rahu and Mars will also be conjunct so these are days to mark on the calendar and be extra mindful of yourself or others as you / they could be especially reactive.

What does this transit indicate for the next 18 months?  Rahu is said to be at home in Virgo which is an atmosphere of analysis, intellect, expertise, discipline, health, purity, service.  Rahu’s outward energy can help us get organized and headed in the right direction.  The downside here is Rahu dramatizes everything so it is important to stay lighthearted.

Ketu likewise is said to be at home in Pisces, the last sign of the zodiac that represents the culmination of the soul’s journey, spiritual awakening, unity consciousness, dreamless sleep, intuition, compassion.  Ketu’s inward energy can enhance our spirituality and our access to inner resources.  The caution here is that Ketu confuses things a bit, so it is important to stay clear and lucid.

 

Saturn goes Direct: July 20th

No explanation for now, only wanted you to know.

Hello and Happy New Year!

Here’s the current planetary information for the next several weeks.  Please remember this is all viewed from the sidereal perspective- all planets fall back about 24 degrees from the Western astrology placements.  You’ll hear from me again in early March for great news about Jupiter!

Mars’ long transit of Virgo

If you are Virgo Ascendant or have birth planets in Virgo you may want to pay attention here.  Mars began transiting Virgo in late November and will continue along as usual until February 4 when it enters Libra.  This would be its usual transit through a sign, taking about 2 months; but in this case it will stop at 3 degrees Libra and then move retrograde back into Virgo.  Retrograde motion means that the planet appears to be moving backwards through the zodiac.  This will take Mars back into the middle of Virgo until May 20th and then it will move forward again and through leaving finally July 14th.  This means the whole first half of this year Mars is affecting this one area!

Mars in Virgo is a volatile transit in general. Virgo is the sign related to perfection, our urge for things to be done properly.  Mars here could generate an extra dose of frustration and annoyance about how things and people are performing.  Virgo is the sign of health as well, and Mars here can create health disturbances.  The volatility has to do with the fact that Virgo is a sign ruled by Mercury- which is the spark like energy of our mind.  Mars is like a flame to Mercury’s spark thus, handle with care.

I have Ketu in Virgo and have been watching as Mars just transited the exact point.  Like I tell you to do, I note the dates and watch what arises, both within my body/mind and externally.  The first day of the transit I experienced an intense confrontation with someone I work with.  Even before it started I sensed something was going off.  When it was happening I was also aware of the energy and did what I could to be clear and non-defensive.  When it was over I did a little extra to clear up the disturbance between us.  This was my way of being responsive and proactive and keeping the impact minimal.  In addition to this situation I ended up with extra responsibilities during a meditation retreat I was supposed to simply attend, and then got the dreaded chest flu and passed it on to my husband too!  The good news is that I feel like the transit really escalated my meditation experiences and I hopefully now have my immunity in place for the rest of the season!

Ok, there’s a personal story, but the thing for us to remember, is that Mars now is a warm up for Mars later this year!  If you are curious how this affects your chart feel free to contact me for a check in.

Venus Retrograde

We began the year with Venus moving retrograde back through Capricorn.  It will continue this direction all through January.  When any planet is retrograde its energy is disrupted in some way.  It will express itself in a more obvious and yet unusual manner.  *This same principle applies to Mars retrograde discussed above.   Venus’s usual energy is about enjoyment, pleasure, relationship, creative connection so we could say that while retrograde this month you might explore finding enjoyment in something unusual or that it is a good time to reconnect with something or refine something rather than seek out something new.  If you are Taurus or Libra ascendant this retrograde affects you most- things seem to be going a bit slow.

One interesting moment in the transit occurs at the end, on February 1st Venus will station, which means it stops moving backward or forward, and it will be almost exactly opposite Jupiter in Gemini.  These are both the benefic planets, related to what we desire and cherish in this life,  yet they represent different avenues for fulfillment.  Venus is more about material satisfaction, Jupiter intellectual or spiritual fulfillment.  Some astrologers say this opposition can trigger a sense of opposition in us personally regarding these paths, and also some indulgence.  Last time this transit occurred in November I was with 3 great yoga teachers- and there was some opposition going on regarding their teaching methods!  It was interesting to see it through the planetary lens and it was all fine.  Again, February 1st is the upcoming date, see what it brings you!

Also, note that Venus will move forward from there and be in some of its most auspicious zones for the next several months.  This is good news for Taurus, Libra, Capricorn, and Aquarius ascendants.

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