On this Silent Sunday, we find ourselves in the middle of a month fraught with planetary influence. October 2020 welcomes two Full Moons (on the First and the 31st), thereby creating bearish bookends for two other challenging activities in the cosmos: Mars went retrograde on September 9; and the infamous scamp, Mercury, “reversed” its travels on October 16. Whereas Mercury rights its path on November 3, Mars adheres to its enervating energy until November 13.

Although these movements and phases unfolding in the skies affect different astrological signs in different ways, three things are certain for all: Full Moons heighten energy and pull one off-center; Mars retrograde diminishes the planet’s typical empowering force, leaving one with dulled motivation and slowed progress; and Mercury retrograde mucks up the works of all things travel, communication, and electronic. Thus, to keep things steady proves to be a tall task this month.

Certainly, I felt the ramifications of this stellar storm last week. What had been an important deadline was thwarted by electronic errors and human miscommunications; what seemed to be a positive turn of events suddenly had to be postponed; and what had been routine necessitated new protocols. And I was not alone: When comparing notes with others, the consensus  has been that October is a confounding few weeks, and focus and perseverance are hard-won.

That this compendium of confusion is occurring during what is already a distinctly uncertain and atypical election year adds to the universal tension. To wade through the how’s and when’s of voting is one thing; to then cast a ballot and hope that it is counted correctly becomes another. Factor in the hijinx in the galaxy, and the murkiness spreads.

Yet throughout the month, such stymying configurations present each of us with the opportunity to test our mettle. This entire year exemplifies how what we thought would be can be overturned at any moment; then, when fear and helplessness threatened to take the reins, much of humanity rallied and resisted. Of course, humans being humans, differences arose in the way that society “fought back.” These varying behaviors and perspectives also seemed as if they could derail individuals and communities; however, as earlier in the year, and from the beginning of time, adaptability and resilience carried us from one day to the next.

Now, with this month’s cornucopia of cosmic events, we once again scramble to not be pulled down or thrown off by the activity above us. Deep breaths, yanked-up bootstraps, and conscious determination are the keys to riding out the skies’ shenanigans. To that end, today’s routine grounds and centers, and reinvigorates mental focus. 

Special note: This practice is particularly conducive to daily practice for at least a couple of weeks, if not 40 days: Perhaps you dedicate part of your own daily movement or meditation time to this efficient set until Mars and Mercury correct their paths (i.e., start now, and practice through November 13).

In keeping with the need to simplify in the face of sociocultural stressors and cosmological cahoots, the following routine has only three parts, 3-5 minutes each: multi-dimensional and -directional movement; intense Third Chakra stimulation; and calming pranayama with mudra. Should you feel compelled to lengthen the amount of time for any of the parts, do so: Follow your intuition, so that you feel a sense of control over the outcome; that in itself will help to alleviate some of the out-of-control energy that seems to rain down these days.

Begin the practice standing. Shake and wiggle, stretch and bend, jump and jog, working to jettison disturbed and blocked energy. After about a minute of this, circle the torso in wide circumference, 12 times to the right, then 12 to the left; inhale into the back half of the circle, exhale as your circle through the front space. 

Now, help yourself to the floor, and create Plank; you may also remain on all fours if Plank is too much at this moment. Inhale as you lift the right arm up to the side, reaching sky-high, rotating your body open: If you are able to do full Plank, the heels will roll to the left, right foot in front of left on the floor; on all fours, you may opt to open the upper body only, or keeping the left knee on the ground, open the right hip to extend the right leg out in line with the body, yielding a fuller opening. 

Take a full inhale in this Side Plank, and then exhale to return to Centered Plank. Repeat to the other side, inhaling to open the body to the left. Exhale, return to Center, and continue: Alternate right and left Side Planks 26 times (i.e., 13 each side).

After the Plank portion of practice, shift into Baby Pose to re-establish your natural breathing rhythm. Then, help yourself onto your back. Extend both legs straight out at 60 degrees. If your neck is strong, lift the head and shoulder blades off of the ground; otherwise, you may leave them down. Bring the arms a few inches away from the sides, lift them a few inches, and turn the palms up. Begin Breath of Fire, and continue for 30 seconds. 

Next, raise the legs to 90 degrees, feet pointed. Keeping the upper body quiet, aim to touch the toes to the ceiling straight above. The trick here is to avoid rolling the pelvis and low back away from the floor; rather than moving the legs toward you, maintain the 90 degree angle, and “punch” the toes toward the sky. Repeat 26 times, exhaling with each quick “punch,” inhaling to reset; move as quickly as possible, intensely focusing on the precision and power of the movement.

Now, take a moment and draw the knees in toward the body, releasing abdominal tension and relaxing the back body. Roll back and forth a few times to come up, and settle into your favorite seated posture. Make a fist of the right hand, and place it on the Third Chakra (solar plexus). Extend the thumb up. Next, place the left palm on the Heart Center: fingers point to the right, left thumb extends straight up; connect the pinky side of the left hand to the thumb tip of the right finger. The left hand should contact the right thumb at the point between the base of the left palm and the left wrist bone.

With this centering, yet empowering mudra in place, close the eyes and focus on the Third Eye. Remain highly aware of the inner gaze, ardently calling to the spiritual wisdom of the Universe and the Divine; trust that despite the earthly perception of confusion, all is in hand. For the next 3-5 minutes, or however long feels “right” to you, inhale through the nose; exhale long and slow through rounded lips, creating an oceanic, yet calming sound. When you are finished, shift into Svasana for at least a few minutes.

Happy Sunday…

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