Venus and Mars Are the News
Our story this month is that both Venus and Mars enter signs that can create challenges in our lives for a few weeks. The good news is that we also have the support of Saturn and Jupiter to help us out.

Venus Enters Virgo August 11th
Sensual Venus moves into Virgo, the sign of the shy virgin, and you may well expect that there will arise a challenge in our ability to express feelings in relationships. The Virgo placement of Venus means that we will be more likely to channel our emotions through our mind and place an analytic filter over our feelings.
In other words, we are much more likely to say to our partner, “I think” instead of “I feel.” This analytical approach to relationships with others and ourselves can create a hypercritical nature that makes us see what is wrong instead of what is working in our relationships. Resist the temptation to criticize, or you’ll just come across as a petty nag.
The good news is that if we resist the temptation to judge, we can use this analytical placement of Venus to understand our relationship habits and dynamics. It is a good time to counsel and receive counseling about relationships.

Mars Enters Cancer August 19th
Passionate Mars moves into Cancer, the sensitive sign of the nurturer. Just as Venus is not happy in Virgo, Mars feels very awkward in Cancer since it is not known as a planet of feelings and sensitivity. Mars has a hard time expressing its passion in Cancer (think about having sex in front of your mother – no, wait don’t!).
There is also an inability to show the zeal and aggressive nature of Mars in Cancer, so we may fell thwarted in getting our plans off the ground and moving things forward. It is not a good time to fight or push.
Yet we can use Mars in Cancer to get things done around the house, particularly with repairs and ridding our yards of pests and weeds. Just don’t be mean to your momma!

Jupiter and Saturn Bring Gifts
When Mars enters Cancer on the 19th, it also creates a mutual special aspect with Saturn. While this would usually make Mars even more difficult, the exalted nature of Saturn in Libra can have these difficulties turn out well. And Jupiter is also supporting Saturn as well.
So it is possible that the Martian disagreement (fight?) you might have in your Venusian relationship can lead to a breakthrough and deeper understanding of the karma you are working through. You will need to put a boundary around this situation, however, and use this opportunity to get clearer about the responsibilities and commitments everyone is bringing to the relationship.

Meditation for Relationships
A nice yoga practice this month for all the Mars and Venus energy around relationships is the Heart Shield Meditation. You will be using this mantra which can be chanted as you wish, or you can also find it set to music on various websites as well:

Sat narayan wha-hay gu-roo
Ha-ree narayan sat naam

The mantra is chanted with the arm straight, resting over the knee, curling the index under the thumb, and the left hand is held 4 to 6 inches in front of the heart with fingers straight and the palm facing the body with forearm parallel to the ground. The gaze is down the nose.
Chant 5 to 11 minutes, then inhale deeply, hold briefly, and relax into the awareness of the heart center.


Sun Enters Leo August 16th

The Sun enters the Vedic sign of Leo on August 16th and brings extra vitality and strength to everyone for four weeks as it occupies its natural sign. While some of the other planetary energies this month (see our last newsletter) can bring some indecision, blocks, and confusion, the magnificent Sun in its sign of Leo gives us the ability to be great, be steady, and shine our light. Sun worshippers, this is your month (and a great time for everyone with Leo rising in their birth chart!).

Leo Sun (August 15 – September 14)

According to modern Vedic astrology texts, those born under a Leo Sun are generally physically strong, good-looking, with lots of energy and can be very successful in their career and many other things that they set out to do. They are egotistical, headstrong and sometimes may be considered too intense. In marriage they often have problems because they think that they are always right, although actually, they often are. There is some assistance from the father or authorities in life. They have high goals and are good communicators. Most people like them and are willing to help them. They are sincere and can be quite influential over others. Having the intelligence and the drive to accomplish their objectives, they invariably do. They are not usually troubled much by sickness and love the outdoors.

The Leo Yogi

The Leo Sun Yogi is high-energy and intense, with a drive to succeed in their yoga practice. They like to do well in class, happy to demonstrate a posture for their fellow students and talk about their own yoga experiences.  They like being the center of attention and can become successful yoga teachers themselves. Need to borrow a yoga mat or need a ride home from class? Ask a Leo yogi because they are generous to all. Natural scenery is what they enjoy best and they may go out alone to think or meditate. The Leo yogi can be philosophical and often learned in spiritual subjects.

The Two Sisters: Yoga and Astrology

Like Yoga and Ayurveda, the astrology of India (or Jyotish) was one of the original Vedic sciences. The great masters of yoga deeply understood the value of both the healing regimen of Ayurveda as well as the karmic potentiality of Vedic Astrology for those pursuing the path of yoga.

Yet not many yoga students and teachers in the West fully appreciate the supporting and major role that astrology plays in the development of a yoga practice.

While Western astrology has much to offer the spiritual seeker, Vedic or Eastern astrology (Jyotish) provides the yogi and yogini with a set of powerful tools to discern the most appropriate types of yoga practices for an individual and the optimal times for their practice.  I have found that Vedic Astrology provides the yoga teacher with something that is vitally needed but not provided in the western approach to teaching yoga: A reliable diagnostic tool that works hand in glove with the practice of yoga.

Vedic astrology prescribes the use of different mantras based upon the individual’s birth chart, specific meditations based upon the planetary energies, and even appropriate asanas for remediation and healing.

As an example, a woman who came to me for an astrology reading was experiencing chronic depression. An examination of her birth chart revealed a Moon heavily challenged by Saturn – a classic recipe for depression. In Vedic Astrology the Moon corresponds to what the yogis call “manas” or the sensory and emotional nature of the mind.  Saturn exerts a contracting influence that can be experienced as constrictive or limiting.

Saturn, however, can also provide discipline and stability needed for meditation. Saturn with the Moon in a birth chart can be ideal for developing a meditative mind or it can produce depression in those who do not use the energy of Saturn appropriately. I suggested a mantra to strengthen her Moon energy, a pranayama to activate the Lunar flow of prana, and a meditation suitable for her constitution.

While yoga provides the framework for self-transformation, astrology gives us the personalized roadmap. It is a way to understand our karmic DNA, the challenges and the opportunities that the soul has brought into this lifetime, as well as our dharma, our destiny, and the means for our liberation.

Yoga and Astrology – always meant for each other!