Find your balance through every zodiac season with our Astrology & Asanas series by yoga instructor, Astrostyle editor (and harmonious Libra) Andrea Rice. Follow along with these postures to connect to the natural rhythms of life, enhance perceptivity and elevate your spirit.
Alchemical Scorpio season shifts your attention toward transmutation; a time to shed old parts of yourself and reignite your deepest desires and passions.
Like an alchemist, you can work with astrology and asana during the transformative time of Scorpio season to turn anything that feels “leaden” in your life into solid gold. The following yoga poses are inspired by the progression through the three stages of Scorpionic energy, from Scorpion to Serpent to Eagle. They are designed to unblock the root chakra and move energy (prana) up the spine and into the heart space and beyond. You can embody the lower, grounding intensity of the Scorpion and its stinger, the heart-opening qualities of the Serpent and the high-minded nature of the Eagle to cultivate Scorpio’s metamorphosis into tangible form.
Scorpio rules the sex organs in the body. The intention behind these various binding postures is to isolate negative energy by generating resistance, and then unravel to release it out. After the Sun’s stint light-hearted Libra, Scorpio season invites us to turn our attention inward so we can harness the potency of our desires. For musical inspiration I recommend the mystical enchantment of Santana’s “Abraxas,” and listening to “Black Magic Woman” on repeat.
The Seeker: Sphinx Pose (Salamba Bhujangasana)
Since Ancient Egyptian times, the mythical Sphinx has long served as a symbol of mystery, fascination and intrigue. This grounding, heart-opening posture is the perfect beginner-level backbend, and an ideal way to begin any yoga practice. Begin on your belly with your forehead to the earth and big toes drawing together, and plant your forearms in front of you so that your elbows can stack directly underneath the shoulders. Press down into the forearms to lift the heart, while pressing firmly into the pubic bone and tops of the feet. Extend the crown of the head skyward, as you create an energetic exchange between the underworld below and the heavens above. Breathe deeply in and out through your nose for 5-7 cycles of breath and then exhale to lower your forehead back down.
The Devotee: Baby Cobra to Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)
Drag your forearms back and plant your palms just outside of your ribcage. Hug the elbows in at either side and inhale to press again into the tops of the feet and pubic bone, and begin to lift the heart from the earth. As you come into a low Cobra (or Baby Cobra) pose, extend the crown of your head away from you to continue lengthening the back of your neck and spine. Pause for an inhale, then exhale to extend the crown of your head skyward and straighten through the elbows for full Cobra (Bhujangasana). Be mindful not to let the head drop back, and if there is any tension or discomfort in your lower back, you can engage your glutes to protect that area. Repeat 2-4 times, and lower back down to the earth.
The Spider: Goddess Squat (Utkata Konasana) Variation
Come to a standing position and take a wide stance with the legs with the heels slightly turned in and toes turning out, as you would for Goddess Pose. Bend the legs to draw the thighs parallel and bring hands to hips, Take a deep breath in, then exhale to hinge forward and plant the fingertips. Cross your hands in front of you and activate steadiness of your body through the fingertips, keeping the palms elevated. Lift the heels, and root down through the balls of the feet while extending the crown of your head away from you and sending your gaze straight down below. Lower the heels after a few breaths, and then change the crossing of your arms.
The Unshakeable: Squat Pose (Malasana)
To come out of the “Spider” stance pictured above, uncross the arms and lower the heels, and then heel-toe the feet closer together to sit low into a Squat (Malasana). Bring the palms in toward the heart and plug the outer elbows into the inner thighs. Use the tips of your thumbs to press up into the sternum as you roll your shoulders back, rather than rounding forward. Curl your tailbone down and away from you as you lengthen through your spine to extend through your crown. Breathe deeply here for up to 5 breaths.
The Adaptable: Bound Side Lunge (Baddha Scandasana)
From a Squat, slide the left foot out long and wrap the right arm inside of the right thigh, reaching the left arm behind you to clasp the right fingers. Flex actively through the left heel as you reach your right sitting bone toward your right heel. Optional: lift to the ball of the right foot. Spin your chest open and continue to lengthen through your spine to extend through the crown of the head as you gradually turn your chin to the left. Breathe deeply for 3-5 cycles of breath and then unwind. Walk your hands over to the other side and repeat there.
The Spiritual Warrior: Bound Extended Side Angle Series (Baddha Parsvokanasana)
Return to a wide-legged standing position by turning the heels in and toes out and bringing hands to hips. Inhale to lead with the heart and lift yourself up, turning the front toes forward and bending the front knee to about 90 degrees. Send the arms out long and wide and gaze over your right fingertips to arrive in Warrior II (Virabhadrasana II). Breathe here to settle into the shape, and then send the right hand skyward as you wrap the left arm behind your lower back for Reverse Warrior (Viparita Virabhadrasana). Let your gaze follow your fingertips overhead as you offer your heart’s intentions to the cosmos. Then, sweep your right hand down in front of you to grab hold of your left hand in between your legs for Bound Side Angle Pose. Continue extending through the crown of your head to keep your spine long, rolling your left shoulder back and turning your chin toward the sky. Stay anchored in the past of your back foot and low in the present of your front thigh, as you look toward the brightness of the future ahead.
Photography by Beth Kessler
Andrea Rice is a writer, author, movement and meditation teacher, and yoga festival presenter. Her articles and essays have appeared in The New York Times, Yoga Journal, The Wanderlust Journal, mindbodygreen, SONIMA, and Astrostyle, among other publications. She has been teaching yoga since 2010, first in Brooklyn and Manhattan and now Raleigh, NC, where she currently resides. She is currently co-authoring a book about the application of seasonal rhythms and yoga philosophy to modern life which will be published in early 2020. Follow her on Facebook and Instagram, and sign up for her quarterly newsletter on her website: www.andreariceyoga.com.