Outer Planets: Why should you care about Uranus?

Outer Planets: Why should you care about Uranus?

Uranus is here to ask you a question: How do you feel about freedom?

Now, before we get carried away, this isn’t some patriotic guise. Freedom as I’m speaking about it refers to absolute, anything-can-happen, throw-it-to-the-wind, FREEDOM.

And chances are, you have mixed feelings about it. I know I do. Freedom sounds good at first to the ego… after all anything you want is possible. But then, upon reflection, most people will find that total freedom doesn’t sound so good because we also love boundaries. For example, we like our soul to be free...but for it to also adhere to the boundary of our bodies. And we’d like the flow of cash to be free… so long as some of it stays in our bank account.

Tell-Tale Signs of an ADVANCED Yoga Practice

Tell-Tale Signs of an ADVANCED Yoga Practice

Happy Memorial Day!

Lately, advanced yoga postures have been on my mind. This past week I attended a remarkable six-day advanced posture training here in Eugene, Oregon, and I’m not sure I have ever sweat so much!

It was nice to step back from teaching yoga classes in order to fully participate as a student. I find when I do this I always learn something new, and last week was no exception.

In the course, we had a discussion about what it means to have a truly advanced practice. Each person shared a different perspective. What struck me is that none of our answers were directly based on physical aptitude or even attaining advanced postures. Rather, the milestones mentioned by the group were internal.

In the days since the training, I find myself returning to this question. After all, it’s not merely certification, years of practice, or the types of classes you attend that turn you from an intermediate to an advanced practitioner. 

So what are the signs your yoga practice is deepening (or is already super deep)? Read on…

In Defense of Slowness

In Defense of Slowness

Do you ever unintentionally pick up your phone and scroll through email or social media? Or, do you find yourself picking up your phone (or iPad or laptop) during even the briefest moment of stillness?

Yeah, me too.

By this time in our techie world, we know that our devices aren't great for our attention spans. Human beings are, on average, losing length in our attention spans as computers grow faster and faster. I even find myself, when planning a yoga class, tempted to speed up the tempo, to keep people (and myself) from growing bored.

Yet, we know from many of the great meditation teachers, neuroscientists, and yogis that paying attention is the best way to strengthen our bodies and minds. It’s also the best way to truly get in touch with our souls.

Concentration is key, dedication is key, focus is key. And truly, you are the key.

I wanted to write this post in defense of SLOWING down. If you read my posts, you probably enjoy yoga and astrology. Here’s some benefits of slowing down in each of these disciplines:

The Yogi’s Bookshelf: My Top 5 Picks

The Yogi’s Bookshelf: My Top 5 Picks

Those who know me well know that I LOVE a good book. I also don’t like to waste time reading things that aren’t helpful or don’t connect with me. But when I find a book I love, one that really juices up my soul, that’s when I want to spread the word far and wide!

On Sunday, May 6 I’m going to present a yoga philosophy workshop at Mudra Yoga in Eugene. I’m excited about this not only because I LOVE working with yogis, but because I get to talk about some of my favorite texts on this topic.

The workshop is going to be amazing—not because I’m amazing, but because what we’re talking about is truly life enhancing, soul edifying, and fun.

I know my readers are far and wide, so if you can’t make it to the workshop in Eugene (register here if you can!), you can at least know my top picks for your yogi bookshelf.


Three Reasons to Study Yoga Philosophy TODAY

Three Reasons to Study Yoga Philosophy TODAY
"When the wisdom of well-considered experience is joined coherently to well-grounded factual knowledge, you have a strong foundation from which to successfully navigate both the path of yoga and the world in general." -Christopher Wallis in his book Tantra Illuminated

I first began a daily yoga practice in 2004. Like most beginners, I had no idea what I was getting myself into, and that was a good thing. I knew that yoga would meet my goals of staying fit and relaxed, and those physical benefits were enough for me. 

Perhaps my introductory years of yoga sound familiar to you. In my experience, physical yoga is what most often attracts people to yoga. Perhaps you came to yoga seeking some degree of fitness (cross training, stretching, strengthening, or physical upkeep) mixed with some degree of relaxation.

There's no denying that the physical benefits of yoga come without needing to study old texts.

Yet, as you deepen your practice and move from the beginning levels of yoga, studying yoga philosophy helps.

April and the Fool

April and the Fool

Happy April; happy Easter; happy April Fool’s.

There are few holidays that invite as much mischief and as much glee as April Fool’s Day.

In my mind, I have an ongoing list of my favorite pranks I’ve heard of, seen, or participated in. These pranks come from a long standing tradition. While scholars don't agree on the origin of this holiday (some say it comes from the switch from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar, wherein those still celebrating the new year on April 1 were thought to be fools; and some say it is the modern iteration of a Greco-Roman holiday called Hilaria), they all agree that the holiday has taken place for thousands of years.

This holiday has its beginnings in the West, and as such, draws up the western esoteric imagery of the Fool.

The Fool has links to astrology and yoga, and the Fool is a key concept to understand as we travel on our yogic paths.

Aries, Equinox, and a Look at Unity within Duality

Aries, Equinox, and a Look at Unity within Duality

Here we GOOOOOOO!

The equinox is happening, which means it’s the first day of spring (on March 20) AND the first day of the new solar year.

It’s the perfect time to explore just what the sun has to do with the zodiac calendar and the sign of Aries.

You might be aware that the cardinal astrology signs (Aries, Cancer, Libra, and Capricorn) each coincide with an equinox or a solstice. The spring equinox brings Aries; the summer solstice brings Cancer; the fall equinox brings Libra; and the winter solstice brings Capricorn. In some ways, this is why the energy is considered cardinal, because it leads us in a certain direction. And indeed, if we looked at these signs on a map, they would point in the four cardinal directions (north, south, east, west).

CLAIM YOUR PERSONAL POWER with Yoga and Astrology

CLAIM YOUR PERSONAL POWER with Yoga and Astrology

 In the past 15 months, we’ve seen the climate in our country reach higher and higher levels of uncertainty. I’ve had conversation after conversation where I hear the same sentiment brought up—that feeling of being powerless in a world where power seems to be something that people take by violence and force. In a world driven by binaries, we see powerful vs powerless, domineering vs helpless. 

But there has to be a better way to see things than binaries that divide and disempower. I’m a yogi-astrologer, so I looked into yoga and its sister discipline, astrology, for answers.

A lot of the time when we use the word ‘power’ with yoga, we’re referring to a type of vinyasa-heavy flow that activates cardio and really BURNS SOME CALORIES.  But there is a type of power far more central within yoga and astrology that leads us down the path of empowerment.

The Call of Yoga in Troubling Times

The Call of Yoga in Troubling Times

Astro-yogis, I have a confession: sometimes I see the news updates flashing across my phone, and I feel numb.

As a member of the yoga community, I’m acutely aware that this numbness is precisely why yogis are often criticized in troubling times.

To some, it seems like we live in a delusional space, talking about peace and bliss when our nation is torn apart by gun violence. And perhaps you yourself are wondering: how can I be thinking about creating calm—perhaps just sitting there in a meditation or just standing there in a tadasana (mountain pose) while it’s clear that SOMEONE NEEDS TO DO SOMETHING.

And of course, you’re not wrong to wonder that.

In the sort of yoga I practice (and likely you do too, if you’re in the United States and a yogi), the yoga practitioner is called to acknowledge reality as it is.

This means acknowldging the flaws and gifts within us, as well as the flaws and gifts outside ourselves. And this can seem fine (if still challenging) when the flaws we face are palatable: overcoming issues with perfectionism, finding balance, giving ourselves permission to fail. And of course, these palatable flaws are important for us to address.

But, in my experience, the task of acknowledging things as they are grows more challenging when we have to acknowledge the completely unpalatable, choking-hazard flaws in our reality.

What's your Ascendent? (AND--what IS an Ascendent???)

What's your Ascendent? (AND--what IS an Ascendent???)

It was Imbolic this past week, which is the traditional holiday that marks the midway point between the winter solstice and the vernal equinox.

Today, we celebrate this holiday by checking whether a groundhog sees a shadow, but in many traditional cultures, Imbolic marked a time to look at what was on the horizon for the year. Imbolic marks the very early stages of spring and the very late stages of winter, a time when the seeds we want to sprout this year must be planted.

As a holiday about looking toward the horizon, Imbolic is the perfect holiday to reflect on your ascendent--the sign in your chart that was on your horizon at birth.

Some of the most-often asked questions of me as an astrologer are: what is an ascendent? What does it mean when someone says “Scorpio rising”? WHY do you want to know what time and place I was born in order to do my chart?

All of these questions point to your ascendent or rising sign.