What happens when you integrate astrology into the yogic practice of self-observation without judgement?
Self-inquiry is a spiritual practice that directs our energy and our attention inward. It’s a particular form of self-discovery that encourages one to first recognize and then drop the social mask (also known as the persona, personality, or ascendant) and practice authenticity in every moment. (rather than productivity or some other external goal). In, The Path with Heart by Jack Kornfield, he describes a Buddhist practice of sitting quietly and repeatedly asking yourself, “Who am I”, over and over until you reach a point where something in the body/mind relaxes (?) and a subtle shift in consciousness happens. It’s one of those things that you have to experience for yourself and hard to describe.
Svadhyaya is one of the niyamas (from Patanjali’s 8 Limbs of Yoga) that encourages us to look at ourselves, clearly, without prejudice. It’s a challenging task and requires constant practice. Kripalu Yoga is the methodology that i practice. It brings the physical and energetic bodies into the mix by developing a heightened sense of awareness to sensations, breath, thought patterns, and spontaneous emotional expression.
Astrology attempts to find meaning in the natural order of the cosmos. Everything has it’s own time, it’s own season, and every minute that passes is unique. Astrologers observe both long term & short term trends and relate that information to the present moment. In addition, astrology also adds mythological, archetypal, & psychological dimensions that are extremely personal and relevant.
Natal Astrology looks at an individual (or oneself) thru a lens that has no prejudice. The natal horoscope does not see: gender, race, religion, economic status, socio/cultural differences, sexual orientation, political affiliation or any of the ways in which we categorize ourselves. What the natal chart does describe is our ‘energetic’ makeup and the timing of unfoldment. The ‘how’ is up to us. There are many ways to manifest the potential of our horoscope. It’s the energy pattern and the timing that are pre-determined. All else is free will. When approached with equanimity and non-judgement the natal horoscope becomes an impartial map of possibility with a built-in clock to help one connect to the present moment more intimately.
Yoga & Astrology have co-existed harmoniously in various cultures for eons. Each discipline recognizes the value & contribution of the other. Across the centuries, astrologers have continued to relate the movement of what is above to the movement of what lies below. Whereas, at the same time the yogi’s were discovering what lies without, also exists within. They both agree that here & now is important.
Yoga provides us with the tools to help us be with that moment in peaceful co-existence. Astrology helps us to understand the characteristics of the our particular ego-state and the nature of the obstacles that impede our path towards a higher consciousness. Yoga helps us to smooth out the obstacles, minimize the ego drives and approach life’s challenges in peace. Astrology provides us with the nature of the ever-changing present moment. Yoga practices train us to respond to the ever-changing moment with acceptance. Astrology, when properly understood, can advance us towards spiritual awakening. Yoga does the same.
As a Professional Kripalu Yoga Teacher & Astrologer it’s taken me most of my life to bring these two paths together in a way that goes beyond the mental field or intellect. After 30+ years of study and practice I have now reached a point where I can no longer keep them separate. My personal practice and the programs I offer always include the cosmic point of view in an attempt to teach the hermetic principal, As Above, So Below. For those who are ready for the practice of self-inquiry and seek to approach life multi-dimensionally, astrology & yoga together can be quite enlightening.
Om shanti, shanti, shantihi.