With the Sun conjunct Mercury retrograde in Gemini, the stage is set to review the conversations you have with yourself and the world this month. Ash Baker shares a simple yoga sequence for Gemini to aid the process…Images: Hanne Gaby Odiele by Serge Leblon for Mixte Paris (S/S 2012)
GEMINI: May 21 to June 21
Anatomy: Hands, arms, shoulders. lungs & nervous system
3rd sign of the Zodiac
Interesting times ahead as the sun enters Gemini while Mercury is also retrograde (May 18th – June 11th) in the sign he rules, Gemini! That’s a high quota of twin energy, and communication will be a key theme for the next month.
And all of this Mercurial energy vibing in the air, this relates both to the dialogue we keep with others as well as ourselves. So use the retrograde to your advantage. RE-view, RE-establish, and RE-connect with areas of yourself and your life that could benefit from a slowed-down perspective.
This retrograde period is the Universe’s way of forcing us (granted in very frustrating retrograde ways sometimes!) to take a pause and ponder all that’s occurring around us, and everything that brought us to this point in our journey.
Below are some yoga tools to connect with your breath, strengthen your body and create the space to spend time within. Give yourself the gift of perspective through grace. And remember, we’re all in this together!
:: Sun Salute ::
Come to stand at the front of your mat. Feel your feet grounding downward by pressing your big toe mound, little toe mound and heel firmly against the floor. Scoop your tailbone slightly, giving the abdominals a slight inward moving squeeze. Draw your shoulders back, allowing your collarbones to widen. Lengthen your neck by raising the crown of your head up towards the sky. Arms are softly at your sides with slightly open palms. Now you are in Tadasana or Standing Mountain Pose.
Take a deep inhale inflating the entire belly while simultaneously reaching the arms out and up, bringing the palms to kiss. Exhale and begin to fold forward with your arms following out to your sides like wings. Remember to create a hinge at your hips when you fold and keep a slight bend in your knees. Keep your back nice and flat until you reach your edge in the stretch. Then you can gently round the spine as you surrender to the fold. Inhaling, come up halfway, placing the fingertips on the floor or the palms to the shins. Exhale, and fold down again.
As you inhale again, place your hands on the floor and step or jump back into Plank Pose. Keep the tailbone tucked, engage your abdominal muscles. Exhaling, either bring the knees to the floor or keep legs lifted while slowly lowering down through Chaturanga push up position. Come all the way to the floor.
Inhaling, with hands next to your shoulders, press up into Cobra or Upward Facing Dog. Exhaling, bend the knees and press back and up into Downward Facing Dog. Root down through all ten fingers especially the thumbs. Press your hips up towards the sky and ground your feet into the floor – energetically at least if the heels don’t reach.
Stay for three rounds of full belly breath. On the fourth inhale, raise onto your tiptoes and on the exhale bend your knees and either step or jump your feet to meet your hands at the front of your mat. Inhale and come into the flat back position, hands on your chins or touching the floor. Exhale and fold over your legs. Inhale and stand up straight, bringing your hands to kiss above your head as you do, and then to rest in front of your heart in prayer position. Repeat the whole sequence three times.
:: Supine Pigeon ::
Come to lie on your back. Bend the knees so both feet are flat on the floor. Take the right foot/ankle and place it just above the left knee and focus on opening the right knee and hip. Now gently draw the left knee towards your chest and interlace your fingers either around the front of the left shin or behind the left thigh. While you press the right foot/ankle into the left leg, keep drawing the left knee towards your chest creating resistance. Keep the shoulders and neck on the floor. Jaw should be soft. Relax and allow the right hip to open up. Hold for up to 1 minute. Switch sides.
:: Viparita Karani with block/bolster ::
Come down on your back and bend your knees. Lift your hips up and place a block or bolster under your sacrum for support. Let your arms rest out to your sides with palms facing up or down. Gently begin to extend both legs straight up towards the ceiling. You can have a micro-bend in the knees but keep the legs slightly firm. Let your face and belly soften. Stay here for up to 1 minute.
Monthly Mantra: I go within to begin.