Yoga Flow for America in Retrograde | The New Yorker

America retrograde—I know you’ve heard all kinds of misleading information about it. People use it as an excuse for everything: showing up late, not buying heavy machinery, clinical depression, you name it! But it’s a natural cycle. Every heavenly body goes retrograde at some point. It’s two steps forward, one step toward the dark ages, and, fingers crossed, arcing toward justice.

I’ve heard people say that America goes retrograde way more often these days. Technically speaking, it’s just not true. We astrologers (and we minorities) know that America goes retrograde roughly four times per year and has been doing so every year since the country’s founding. Still, the feeling that the retrogrades have increased in frequency is totally understandable.

So, what’s to be done when America retrograde really gets you down? There are plenty of tips and tricks that I’m sure you’ve already heard—sleeping more, lighting candles, saying prayers, free writing, starting riots. All very valid, but you can’t go wrong with a yoga flow to start your day. This sequence was designed specifically with the current season of America retrograde in mind.

Begin in a comfortable, seated position. Inhale and exhale to a count of four. Feel your body. Then feel the country around you, but maybe not too much. An opening chant is optional, if it’s a part of your practice. Perhaps in Sanskrit, but, if you’re more comfortable with something in English, may I suggest “Enough is enough” or “Hands off my ovaries.”

Half Sun Salutation

To warm up, please come to stand at the top of your mat. Forward-fold over your toes and reach for the ground. Rise halfway up and touch your shins before bending back down into inaction, like the Senate. Do it again. Halfway up with a hopeful inhale. Collapse down with an exhausted exhale. Inhale hope, exhale exasperation. Repeat until dizzy.

Warrior One

Start with your feet together and then, with your right leg, take a huge step backward, like a Supreme Court Justice. Sink lower into the lunge than anyone, including you, thought you could. Take the step without looking behind you—just trust that the ground will be there. Raise your arms in victory—warrior-one pose. Your flexibility will only increase over time.

Child’s Pose

This pose is always available to you at any point during practice if things get to be too much. These days, some have taken to calling this pose “languishing,” but I prefer the classic name. Your child might actually be familiar with variations on this pose that are taught during drills in school. Get low to the ground and be still. Remain here for far too long.

Yogi Squat

Begin to crouch while keeping your spine aligned—head over heart over pelvis. This height, the height of your squat, is where you should set your expectations going forward, to keep from being disappointed. Expecting anything more from anyone—like, say, the President—is not a path to inner peace. If you can bring the soles of your feet flat on the ground to get even lower, that would be wise.

Sphinx Pose

Come forward to lie on your stomach, before arching your back and bringing your hands out in front of you to form the shape of that magnificent monument in Egypt. Hold here and consider the empires of eras past. They each got roughly two hundred and fifty years of greatness. Collapse is inevitable. Release and rest in savasana.

At the end of your practice, return to your intention. Do you remember it? It’s a word or phrase to hold in your heart and orient your flow. Maybe you chose something like “freedom,” “liberty,” or “the pursuit of capitalism.” Did we not set an intention at the start of this flow? Well, that’s probably where it all went wrong. My apologies. But Mercury is currently in retrograde. One can hardly expect perfection in these trying times. Namaste. ♦

This content was originally published here.

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