Sections of this text seem in The Yoga Almanac: 52 Practices and Rituals to Stay Grounded Through the Astrological Seasons, March 2020, New Harbinger Publications. Reprinted with permission: New Harbinger Publications, Inc. © 2020 Lisette Cheresson & Andrea Rice.
After a world pandemic and a tumultuous political winter, the nascent blossoms, longer days, and hotter evenings have by no means felt so good. Spring is the season of planting seeds—each metaphorically and actually—of what we need to harvest come autumn. As we relish in these longer days and hotter evenings, we’re compelled to fling open the home windows and filter out the cobwebs. Spring is an apt time to think about what a brand new starting can imply, how we need to develop into it, and what we have to do to harness the ability of this oft-frenetic recent begin.
The vernal equinox, on March 20 or 21 every year, corresponds with the beginning of Aries season. The equinox—when day and evening are equal—is characterised as a religious rebirth, or new starting. Simply because the leaves are starting to emerge and buds starting their bloom, so too can we emerge from the introspective season of winter, armed with the teachings we discovered by that lengthy, darkish, inward journey. It’s no shock that this will likely really feel extra related than ever, given the precise bodily hibernation of this previous winter introduced on by Covid lockdowns.
Rebirth + Awakening in Yogic Philosophy
The thought of rebirth is foundational to yogic philosophy. Reincarnation is, after all, a component of most religions within the Sanatana Dharma custom, together with Yoga, one of many six faculties of Hinduism. Reincarnation is the awakening after dying into the subsequent life, circumscribed by karma. At its core, yoga itself is a observe of awakening. In Hinduism, Shakti is the primordial vitality of the universe. That is related to the divine female and the goddess Shakti or Devi, Lord Shiva’s all-powerful consort, however just isn’t particular to gender.
After we observe yoga, we’re aiming to awaken this Shakti vitality, depicted as a coiled snake curled in our root (Muladhara) chakra, that travels via our Sushumna (central column, akin to the spinal twine), towards our crown (Sahasara) chakra. Patanjali’s eight limbs are directives to stay a life in pursuit of this awakening as we proceed alongside the cycle of beginning, dying, and rebirth (samsara)—till we attain reunification with the divine.
Observe asks us to look at the interior blockages that preserve us from figuring out ourselves. This requires not solely willpower, however joyful willingness. By accepting our bodily limitations and celebrating our private progress, we change into lively contributors in our lives. Anchored on this basis, we plant potent seeds from which satisfaction and freedom from our personal inhibitions could develop. Simply as the basis programs of vegetation and forests are interconnected, so too are we. Yogic concept posits that there is no such thing as a freedom from struggling—no awakening to final fact—until all beings are free.
What Does This Need to Do With Aries Season?
As the primary signal of the zodiac symbolized by the Ram, Aries is taken into account the astrological child, and is synonymous with recent begins. The vitality we really feel and share throughout Aries season has the awe and surprise of childhood—a brand new journey is usually circumscribed by emotions of pleasure, wholesome nervousness, and braveness. Aries is a hearth signal and dominated by the celestial warrior Mars. This ensures that our awakening just isn’t akin to that of childhood, however a driving drive that compels us ahead into the brand new astrological 12 months.
The Ram symbolizes this sort of pioneering management, that helps us encapsulate the forward-moving momentum of the season. Aries is related to taking motion, and, identical to the blossoming bushes, rising into the intentions we set throughout winter. Aries guidelines the top, face, and mind; a bodily illustration of the charging vitality introduced on by the Ram. Aries pushes onerous and quick, relatively than taking a measured method. A warning this time of 12 months to be cautious of burnout—give the seeds you plant ample time to take root.
Poses for Aries Season
Baby’s Pose (Balasana)
photograph by YogaPedia
Baby’s Pose is symbolic for getting into into the world in a weak place. After we start observe on this form of being born, we nurture our connection to supply. It’s a pose we revisit all through observe; a form the place we really feel at dwelling in our our bodies. Baby’s Pose could also be practiced with knees collectively or broad, arms launched by your sides. This relieves rigidity within the higher physique to ask pure flexion in your thoracic backbone. To help your knees and hips, place a blanket between your seat and the backs of your knees. Prolonged Baby’s Pose is practiced with arms reaching overhead, facilitating shoulder extension. You too can stack your palms beneath along with your elbows broad to help your head and neck.
Baby’s Pose grounds us into our root (Muladhara) chakra, and prompts the third eye (Ajna) chakra by urgent brow to the bottom.
Ahead Fold (Uttanasana)
photograph by YogaPedia
Translated from Sanskrit, Ut means intense; Tan is to stretch or lengthen. Logical Aries guidelines the mind, face, and head. A delicate inversion, Ahead Fold locations the top under the center, growing blood circulation to the face. Ahead Fold stretches the fascia of the again physique, the connective tissue that encapsulates muscle and bone. The plantar fascia of the toes can be manipulated because the soles anchor into the bottom. Working towards Ahead Fold doesn’t imply it’s important to contact your toes or the ground or preserve your legs completely straight. Hold a mushy bend within the knees to stabilize and strengthen your hamstrings, which in flip helps a wholesome and useful decrease again and impartial backbone.
Hinging on the hips engages the sacral (Svadhisthana) chakra, our heart of ardour and sexuality. Stabilizing the backbone by partaking belly muscle tissue prompts the photo voltaic plexus (Manipura) chakra, the fiery heart of Aries’ proactive vitality and the seat of digestive organs. Ahead Folds are stated to enhance digestion and relieve menstrual cramps.
Arrow Lunge (Anjaneyasana variation)
photograph by YogaPedia
This tailored model of a Crescent Lunge prompts the muscle tissue of the again physique (posterior chain). The dynamic form will be explored both with the again knee lowered and lifted, with the arms overhead or stretched behind, or with palms interlaced. Arrow Lunge strengthens the the glutes, hamstrings, lats, shoulder girdle, and the decrease again. You may discover motion from a low lunge to Arrow along with your arms overhead and again knee down, after which carry your again knee, hinge ahead, and attain your arms again by your sides.
As you focus your “purpose” by extending via your head, you keep a robust and impartial backbone and facilitate a gap of the crown (Sahasrara) chakra. Contemplate what it’s you’re powerfully aiming towards. Embody the qualities of the unstoppable Ram in daring pursuit of your goals!
Lisette is a author, yoga instructor, and content material director. She’s a member of the founding management staff for Yoga Unify, a brand new yoga non-profit, and the co-author of The Yoga Almanac. Lisette accomplished her 200-hour coaching in Brooklyn and her Reiki attunement in India, and furthered her research with Leslie Kaminoff of the Respiratory Venture, Tiffany Cruikshank, and Andrew Holecek. She’s additionally a Grasp Grief Coach and Dying Doula, whose work is targeted on integrating the instruments of mindfulness and asana for grief therapeutic and end-of-life nervousness. A filmmaker in a previous life, Lisette has made movies with neighborhood leaders equivalent to Dharma Mittra, Eddie Stern, and Eoin Finn. She lives together with her husband and animals within the Hudson Valley, NY.