Virgo - time to get organised

Virgo - time to get organised!

Plans, research, lists and a good old excel spreadsheet - music to a Virgos ears or those of you with Virgo in your 10th house!

Now is the time to get organised whether you’re planning your next holiday, getting ready for Christmas (yes I said it!), writing class plans, researching retreat venues, planning building work on your home or writing out your shopping list each week so you don’t (or are less likely) to forget something.

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Rachael Wagstaffe
Healing with Virgo ~ full moon in Pisces

Releasing and letting go is needed to heal and grow yet this is super challenging but the full moon is illuminating what needs to change or to be released, though it seems hard to do, know that what is meant for you will always come back to you. Pisces is represented by 2 fish swimming in opposite directions, do you feel like you are swimming against the current or going with the flow? Now is the time to trust your intuition, follow your gut and remember that you welcome more in with open hands then with closed fists!

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Rachael WagstaffeComment
Mudras and Mantras: Virgo ~ the sixth sign of the zodiac

Welcome to Virgo season and happy new moon. Virgo is the 6th sign of the zodiac and we move back into the element of Earth, we’ve not been here since Taurus but Virgo has a very different energy. Virgo is ruled by Mercury (same as Gemini) but rather than being slow and sensual (Taurus) or rushing here, there and everywhere and forgetting why (Gemini), Virgo brings order to chaos and a steady flow with a precise purpose.

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Sun in Virgo ~ yoga PRACTICE not Yoga perfect

Virgo is grounded and organised, she likes to know that everything will be completed properly, knows where everything goes and has high expectations. The truth is we have now moved into the 6th sign of the zodiac, we have gotten in touch we our ego (Aries), our desires (Taurus), our thoughts and starting to learn about the world (Gemini), our emotions (Cancer) and our passions and putting ourselves out there (Leo). By the time we reach Virgo we have been through a lot learning about ourselves and the world.

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I am Yogi, hear me ROAR!

What a way to start the weekend with so much fire in the sky! The Sun and Venus are both in Leo and the Moon is in Sagittarius today and Saturday alongside Sagittarius ruling planet Jupiter. Leo and Sagittarius are 2 of the 3 fire signs within the zodiac, fire is all about action, getting things started, motivation, will power, determination. Leo brings in the playful, childlike energies and Sagittarius loves a good adventure.

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Mudras and Mantras: Leo ~ the fifth sign of the zodiac

Welcome to Leo season, as the sun returns to the sign it rules. Leo symbolised as the Lion, and invites in courage, enthusiasm, adventure, childlike laughing fits, creative expression. We are back in the fire for the first time since Aries season, we have grown as we have moved through the elements in the first 4 signs and move into the 5th house of romance. As we have moved out of the moon sign of Cancer and into sunny sign of Leo it seemed natural to practice Surya Mudra.

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Yoga to survive mercury retrograde!

Yoga to survive mercury retrograde!

Mercury retrograde - it happens at least 3 times a year and lasts approx 3 weeks, yet it still seems to take us by surprise when we find out its happening! Mercury retrograde has a bit of a bad rap and during a mercury retrograde you’ll likely see memes posted over the internet blaming mercury retrograde on something (unless the internet has crashed!). Even with my students if someone comes in saying something has gone wrong we all joke and say ‘mercury retrograde’! Its a bit like shouting April Fools! However there’s a lot more to it.

All planets in our solar system have been allocated certain aspects and qualities, ruling over them, and when a planet moves into retrograde these aspects may have a bumpy ride. Mercury is the planet of communication, travel, ideas - affecting our thoughts, speech, phones, computers, internet connection, social media, transport to name a few!

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Lift out of your shell ~ 3 Ways to move into upward FACING dog pose

As the sun starts to move out of the watery sign of The Crab AKA Cancer and into Leo the Lion heart on the 23rd July I wanted to dive into the backbend of Upward Facing Dog pose.

Upward Facing Dog pose and Cobra pose seem to get muddled up as students aren’t always aware of the difference between the two. Upward Facing Dog pose is in essence an arm balance as the only contact points on the mat are the palms of the hands and the top of the feet, while in a deep Cobra like backbend.

For Cancer signs home is where the heart is and Leo is associated with the heart chakra so it seemed fitting to focus on a backbend that requires you to lift out of your shell.

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Nurture yourself - my 5 self care tips for cancer season.

Burn out is more and more common and so many of us just want to give and we forget about ourselves. As a new Yoga Teacher (7 years ago!) I wanted to share my love of the practice that brought me so much inner calm, relaxation and strength. Yet as demand grew I actually sacrificed my own practice to be able to give more to those asking for more classes.

At first it was amazing that so many people wanted to practice with me - hi ego! but in time I burnt out and didn’t enjoy what I was teaching - how could I when I wasn’t practicing myself yet so many Yoga Teachers do this!

So how did I fall back in love with Yoga?

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Even Yogis can burn out - don't quit, just rest!

Welcome to cancer season its time to slow down and nurture yourself. Cancer is seen as the mum, the giver, the feeder, the person you go to when you need a cry and a good hug. They can also be seen as the teens of the zodiac - emotional, pushed to work hard (exams, trying to get into college and uni or getting a job) when they really don’t want to! I see Teens as the newbie Cancers as they don’t yet understand their emotions, as the Mother role comes into play - whether you are a mother or a father, whether you have children of your own or people in your community that you view as family - we start to understand our emotions more.

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Mudras and Mantras: Cancer ~ the fourth sign of the zodiac

Cancer is the sign of the crab, our first water sign, ruled by the moon and are known as the Divine Mother. The Moon is also known as the feminine/ The Goddess part of ourselves, so for me it was easy to choose the mudra for Cancer season: Shakti Mudra

During Cancer season allow yourself to dive deep into the waters of your emotions and truly FEEL them. It can be easy to stay within the shell but remember this house/sign is about home and LIFE. You have to move out of your shell to truly live and FEEL.

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Flowing around the Mandala ~ Summer Solstice & International Day of Yoga

The summer solstice is the longest day of the year and is a beautiful marker for being halfway through the year. In previous years I’ve run Yoga in the park classes on summer solstice and last year had the most epic time in New York practicing Yoga in Times Square. Two very different locations but both as beautiful. I will forever remember that OM as we chanted at the end of practice in the middle of New York ~ Peace within the Chaos!

The summer solstice is referred by some as the turning of the wheel as we move into another season. To mark this I wanted to practice a Mandala Flow as part of our Gemini season sequence.

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Full moon in Sagittarius and sun in Gemini ~ time for fun and philosophy!

This weekend the moon moves into the sign of Sagittarius with the full moon on the 17th June while the sun is still dancing in Gemini. Gemini are the kids of the zodiac and Sagittarius is the sign opposite Gemini and this is a real case of opposites attract! Sagittarius is ruled by Jupiter nicknamed the lucky star, they love travel, adventure and are pretty intelligent but aren’t too bothered either way if they are right or wrong though can be preachy when out of balance! Both Gemini and Sagittarius love to study.

If you have the weekend off then go on a trip, be spontaneous as much as you can and see where your adventure takes you. If you want to stay closer to home then try something new - sign up for a dance class, enroll of a course to study something completely unrelated to your career, throw a party at the last minute (a garden BBQ if the weather allows!), make space in your garden or living room and be creative - draw or paint, or start a journalling practice and write out your ideas and dreams - start to make a plan.

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Rachael Wagstaffe
Pranayama Playfulness - my 5 breathing techniques for Gemini season

Pranayama Playfulness - my 5 breathing techniques for Gemini season

Gemini and Pranayama go hand in hand for me, Gemini’s are the first air sign of the zodiac and Pranayama is the breath, our life force. Yet how often do you focus on, check in with or connect with your breath? Gemini are the Twins and we have 2 lungs, 2 nostrils, 2 flows of the breath - inhale and exhale. The breath is about welcoming and letting go, nourishing our mind and body yet so many of us don’t know how to breath properly!

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Activation within your yoga practice…what does it mean?

Do you know the difference between being active and passive in your body? The difference between engaging and just hanging out in a yoga pose? The affect it has on your body between forcing or activating your way through your yoga practice?

Activation in the body is about being aware of how you are moving and placing your body on the mat, into AND out of yoga poses. Engaging muscles to build strength to hold yoga poses and protect the joints. Being gentle and mindful of your body and listening to how your body reacts rather than pushing for the pose or going to your edge every single time!

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Find your comfort zone and then go beyond it

When we bring water to earth we create mud /clay and that can create beautiful things. If you can identify your comfort zone and find little ways to take yourself beyond your comfort zone you’ll find so much more than you imagined.

The comfort zone is the great enemy to creativity; moving beyond it necessitates intuition, which in turn configures new perspectives and conquers fears - Dan Stevens

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My 5 go to Yoga poses for releasing tension in the neck & shoulders

Welcome to Taurus season. Taurus rules over the neck and invites in mobility and stability, stabilizing our head and mobility allowing us to look around and see the world rather than what is right in front of us!

Earthy Taurus can be stubborn and like their comforts. They do rule over the 2nd house which is all about cash & possessions, so it can be a challenge to get them to try something different. This may create tension due to feeling anxious at the thought of coming out of their comfort zone. They can also very focused on the task at hand and will take their time on what they are currently doing. This may create tension in the neck & shoulders or neck pain or general discomfort in the neck & shoulders as they may lock themselves into how they hold their body until the task is complete.

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Mudras and Mantras: Taurus ~ the second sign of the zodiac

For Taurus I selected the Apana Mudra. Apana is 1 of the 5 Vayus which means wind but we can link it to different directions of movement. Apana Vayu is the downward & outward movement. Apana Mudra is a very cleansing mudra to practice, its all about releasing and letting go of stale energy.

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Connecting to your inner warrior through your Yoga practice

Aries - the fighter, ruled by Mars the God of War! They are assertive and here with a purpose and are not easily deterred. Once an Aries knows their cause they will fight for it.

Maya Angelo, was not only a poet and a singer but a civil rights activist - one of my favourite quotes from Maya Angelo is:

‘A woman in harmony with her spirit is like a flowing river. She goes where she will without pretence and arrives at her destination prepared to be herself and only herself’

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