Here are some reflections from my practice and hopefully some inspiration for yours:
This winter and spring I have been concentrating on getting stronger through hiking. It has felt important as I enter into middle age to not just move more, but to be in nature and to be reminded that my body is a vehicle for connecting with the wilderness.
My asana practice is simple and sweet these days. I don’t try and get much out of my body- rather I attend to it so it feels good and balanced. This attitude has been distilled from years of practicing in ways that were not necessarily simple and sweet.
Even though I have always gravitated to gentle styles and found teachers who understood the meditative and spiritual dimension of yoga, I still pressured myself to do more and more. I imagine I thought that was my duty as a professional yoga teacher. It took some time to realize I was inflicting pain upon myself rather than resolving it, and that was serving no one!
This is really a lesson regarding the Mind. I didn’t know I was being aggressive. I didn’t know I was off track. My teacher Rama always emphasized a will-less way of progressing and I loved the message. It just took years to bear fruit and flowers. Perhaps there is much more to come. Meanwhile, I am pain free, at ease, and in awe with the way my practice has evolved.
This brings me to the concept of Mind/Body that I am playing with lately. In the new brain science we see more than ever that the mind and body are integral, not distinct. The mind is the body, the body is the mind. Awareness and sensitivity are keys to integration, thinking and dissecting are disturbances. Yogis and Buddhas and Mystics of all stripes have essentially agreed upon this- now there is a modern wave of contemplative science and study that affirms and explains the phenomena of integration.
It is an exciting and exhilarating new way of conceiving of self and human potential. What does your body tell you? How does the thinking and judging mind distort the information? How do we enter into the energy and information of the mind/body, learn from it directly? How do we translate this integration of being into our lives and world? What might it mean for the future?
In regards to your practice, I hope you have the opportunity to move more and the wisdom to will-less from your body. I wish you the enjoyment of nature and the opportunity to touch into wilderness. I pray that your own mind/body journey flowers into good health and spiritual integration. And that each of our practices aids to the healing of the world.
Blessings and Light, Natasha
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.
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!
Wisdom speaker Natasha Korshak, will be at Sacred Space with Stephen Pedone accompanying on gutiar Sunday 8/9/15 at 4:15pm
Natasha will explain to us the foundations, guide us, and help us practice Yoga Nidra also known as iRest (not an apple product). This traditional Yoga practice helps heal ills such as anxiety, insomnia, chronic pain, and PTSD. Yoga Nidra is a simple and doable meditation that reminds us of our intentions and our potential to break through limiting perceptions that generate stress and tension. Natasha’s teaching will also help us understand how this practice can be applied to daily life.
Natasha Korshak is an Interfaith Contemplative Minister, Yoga Teacher, and Director of the Mindfulness Programs of Tucson.
Stephen Pedone is an aspiring accountant, musician and renaissance man.
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.”