When the sun moves into Aries, it is the beginning of the new Astrological year. It is Spring in the Northern hemisphere and the Autumnal equinox in the Southern hemisphere. The corresponding body part for Aries is the head. The head is where the brain resides; central station for the majority of information collected by the five senses, and where it is translated into the experience of thoughts, feelings and perceptions.
Where and how are you looking?
The features of the face are the eyes, nose, mouth, ears, forehead, jaw and cheekbones. It is the mask that we present to the world. The eyes are the windows to the soul and can reveal much about the body through the study of Iridology. The markings in the iris reflect the condition of the various organs of the body. When practicing yoga the eyes should be open with a relaxed and consistent gaze at eye level. If the gaze is towards the floor, we are often reflecting on past events. If the eyes are looking up we tend to be speculating on the future. Observe this in your practice as well as your daily life. Soften your gaze and endeavor to remain alert and aware; in the present moment.
The muscles of the brow, forehead and the cheekbones are exercised in conjunction with almost every motion of the face and exhibit chronic feelings and tension brought about through thinking and rationality. Try to bring awareness to your facial expressions whilst practicing Yoga, aim for a relaxed and gentle continence. Breathe through your nose at all times. If you are struggling; bring your awareness to focus on releasing any tension with your exhalation breath. Your mouth should be closed with a relaxed jaw.
The bearing of the head reflects directly the ego. For example the person whose head is forward of the body approaches life through the rational self initially; followed by the body or the feelings. If you are wondering about your head’s position in upright postures you can generally drop the chin slightly so the base of the skull lifts, slightly lengthening the back of the neck. Imagine a thread lifting from the crown of your head to achieve this.
The symbol of Aries is the Ram, a creature known for charging in head first. The planet associated with Aries is Mars, it has a fiery and active energy. Courageous and inspired; the Aries individual leads the way, forging ahead for others to follow. Whilst the sun travels through the sign of Aries we may feel compelled to act, connecting with a raw and vital energy to instigate new ventures. This assertive energy of outward action needs to be counterbalanced with the internal path of self exploration. Remember the power of inaction and take the time to also relax this month.
Remember to Relax, and rest the Head
Savasana or Corpse pose is the ultimate in surrender. Don’t forget to include it in your home practice. Make sure that you support your head and neck, when reclining you do not want your chin to be higher than your forehead. It’s relaxation pose, so take all the support you need. Use an eyebag or fold a blanket so that it covers your eyes and ears and snuggle it around your head to enhance the inward retraction of your sensory organs. Bring your awareness to your heart centre. Surrender to the force of gravity and just be.
In Adho Mukha Svanasana or Dog pose the head should be allowed to totally relax and release, remind yourself to let the head let go in this asana.
When practicing Forward bends for any length of time; support the head. You can rest the forehead on your folded arms on a chair or use a bolster and/or a block. Poses with the head down relax the front of the brain and calm the mind. If it is difficult to stretch forward without rounding the spine or collapsing the chest; use extra height under the sit-bones to make forward bends more comfortable and hence more beneficial.
Our approach to practicing Yoga must provide a balance of the inner/spirit and the outer/environment; between action and inaction, in order to create harmony and unity within our lives.