Astrology Inspired Practices For Self-Care And Self-Discovery In August•
Posted on August 17 2022
With planets in curious Gemini and knowledge-oriented Virgo, August is an active time that supports us to embrace variety and adopt a beginner’s mind. In the second part of the month, we’ll be feeling the effects of Uranus retrograde: with the planet of change appearing to move backwards through the sky, we might feel more restless, but also more inspired than usual.
Looking for the best self-care practices for this crazy August? We’ve prepared a list of astrology-inspired recommendations below. Tip: pick one or two from the list and repeat them for at least 21 days in a row.
BREATHE AND RELEASE:
MARS IN GEMINI
On August 20, passionate Mars enters curious Gemini, where he’ll be taking an extended trip until March 2023. We’re entering an intellectually active season that supports us to invest our energy in multiple projects and seek out new sources of stimulation.
Gemini rules the lungs and the breath, while Mars tends to increase activity levels, bringing dynamism and renewal… but also possible stress. If you notice that your breathing is faster or more shallow than usual or if you just need to center yourself during a busy day, here are a few practices that might come in handy in the following months:
BREATH OF FIRE
Because Mars is the planet of fire, it supports us to bring an extra dose of vital energy in the life area & the body part ruled by the sign that it transits. With Gemini ruling the breath, we’re entering a great transit for practicing this energizing Pranayama technique.
To do the Breath of Fire, inhale normally and exhale forcefully through your nose. Notice your abdominal muscles contracting and keep a steady rhythm, inhaling and exhaling with no pauses in between. You can practice for 30 seconds, then extend the time as you become more comfortable with the sensations. If you’re looking for a crystal ally, you can use a Garnet Gemstone Pyramid: this stone works wonders for revitalizing and purifying the energetic body.
Studies show that this practice decreases stress levels and activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for the body’s ability to relax. Most likely, we’ll need to balance out the body’s fight or flight response during the upcoming months, when “thinking” and “doing” might feel more natural than resting.
ALTERNATE NOSTRIL BREATHING
Another practice to try during Mars in Gemini is alternate nostril breathing or nadi shodana. This practice purifies the energetic body and balances out the left and the right hemispheres of the brain. The benefits? It improves concentration, enhances respiratory function, and promotes a general sense of well-being.
To practice, sit in a comfortable position, exhale completely, then cover your right nostril with your right thumb. Inhale through your left nostril, then close it with your fingers and exhale through the right. Then, switch it up: inhale through the right and cover it up as you exhale through the other side. You can repeat this cycle for as long as you feel comfortable.
Because Gemini is all about duality and it asks us to integrate polar opposites, alternate nostril breathing is great for restoring the equilibrium between our feminine energy (the left side of the body) and our inner masculine (the right side of the body). As you breathe, you can notice what side feels stronger and set the gentle intention for the sides to balance out. You can also burn a Cleansing Soy Herbal Filled Votive Candle in the background to support your practice.
REGULATE YOUR NERVOUS SYSTEM:
From August 19 to 29, Uranus, the planet of change, revolution, and independence will appear to stand still in the sky. The stationing period marks the shift from direct to retrograde movement and opens up a five-month window that supports us to focus on inner change and trust our unique gifts & quirks.
When Uranus stations, his energy is amplified. This brings the gifts of a strong independent streak and an extra dose of inventiveness, but it can also trigger erratic nervous energy in the form of restlessness, anxiety, or difficult sleep patterns. Here are a couple of ways to calm the nervous system in the second part of August:
ACTIVATE YOUR VAGUS NERVE
The vagus nerve is the longest nerve in the body and it plays a major role in our parasympathetic nervous system or the “rest and digest” system, which is responsible for our state of calm and relaxation. Stimulating the vagus nerve reduces the impact of stress on our bodies and helps us regulate our emotions better.
Meditation, slow breathing, or humming are great ways to work with this nerve and come down from a state of sympathetic activation, also known as the fight-or-flight response. Chanting “Om” or using mantras that activate each chakra (bija mantras) can help our bodies slow down to a more connected state. You can use a Chakra Singing Bowl for a stronger effect: singing bowls have also been shown to trigger the relaxation response.
For a more dynamic practice, you can splash cold water on your face or take a cold shower; cold water exposure also activates the vagus nerve and helps the parasympathetic nervous system take over. This can be particularly effective when you’re on the go.
Coregulation lies at the heart of our interactions: it allows us to feel safe with each other and it builds resilience. Self-regulation (the things we do to manage our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors) is an important skill, but it often falls short if we try to do it all on our own. Simply being in the presence of someone else, someone we trust & feel safe with, can have a soothing effect on our nervous systems. Mirror neurons are being activated and the other person’s state of calm can be contagious, prompting us to relax as well.
Especially in the second part of August, take extra time to be with loved ones and choose contexts where people are mindful and calm rather than hyperactive or stressed out. Hugs, light physical touch, or massage can also help us come down from our minds and into our bodies at this time. Honoring the innovative and community-oriented spirit of Uranus, you can also participate in a cacao ceremony or gather friends and make your own Oaxacan Spice 100% Ceremonial Cacao Drink.
STRUCTURE AND CLEANSE:
THE SUN AND MERCURY IN VIRGO
From August 4 to August 25, Mercury, the planet of learning and communication, moves through detail-oriented Virgo, where he supports us to plan, organize, and find practical applications for our ideas. On the 22nd, when Virgo season is officially on, we’re entering a timeframe that encourages us to bring an extra dose of discipline and order into our lives: whether we’re talking about work tasks, morning routines, or health habits, the next month is perfect for redesigning the architecture of our lives. A few ideas:
DECLUTTER: THE FOUR BOX METHOD/THE ONE METHOD
A tidy home equals a tidy mind: out of all the zodiac signs, Virgo is the one who fully embodies this rule! Virgo season is the perfect time for turning a critical eye toward your home and your workspace, making sure that it supports your productivity & peace of mind. You can take it step by step: first, let go of items that are no longer useful, then work on organizing the rest.
If you prefer to get the job done in one go, the Four Box Method is your ideal option. Choose one room from your home and set up four boxes: Keep, Give Away, Re-locate, and Throw Away. Then, sort through each item in that room. If you’re undecided, you can spend some time holding the item or even writing down a few notes about it. Noticing how it makes you feel can help you make a decision.
If you want a practice that extends throughout the entire Virgo season, you can use the One Method: during the entire month (you might want to start on the 22nd, when the Sun enters Virgo), get rid of one item every day or choose one space in your home (it can be a small or a large area) to declutter. It might be a good idea to take a “Before” and “After” picture of each area; seeing tangible results can motivate you to keep it up.
As the appearance (and the vibe) of your home shifts, you can use some Mini Desert Sage Smudge Sticks to purify the areas you’ve decluttered and make space for new energy.
START A BULLET JOURNAL
Bullet journals are meant to help us organize our thoughts: it’s a way of decluttering our mental space by writing down tasks and keeping track of our progress. With intellectual Mercury in organized Virgo, August is the perfect month to rethink our approach to daily life and create structures that support our productivity.
The good news is that you can make your own: use a Leather Journal with Stone or a Leather Journal with Strap to design your life, choosing the level of specificity that suits you. For example, you can set up a Future Events Log to write down important dates from the upcoming year, a Monthly Log to highlight important deadlines, appointments, or events (and track your progress with repeating tasks or routine goals), and a Daily Log for to-do lists and notes.
Keeping a bullet journal can be helpful in August, especially if you’re a Gemini, a Virgo, a Sagittarius, or a Pisces: because they’re prone to overthinking, these signs can benefit from an extra dose of discipline that promotes mental clarity during this intellectually active month.