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Your November Yoga Astrology Forecast: Here’s What to Expect This Month

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From navigating the start of the hectic holiday season to dealing with family dramas that are very likely to surface, here’s how to use your yoga practice and what’s in the stars to help you navigate the coming weeks.

Learn what your horoscope tells you about preparing for the holidays. 

Around the world, many of us are beginning to prepare for the upcoming festive season. In an ideal world, holidays are a time for reflection and joy. In the real world, they can draw out old poisons we thought we’d processed long ago. After all, it’s one thing to explore the magic of who we are alone—and quite another to do it within the context of our families of origin, who we tend to spend more time with this time of year.

When you introduce your clan into the equation, your assignment fills with landmines. But the good news is that your work also becomes richer. Keep this in mind as you progress through the month of November and into December. And remember, if you’re able to identify your wounds as a reflection of a problematic system, you can depersonalize them and start to work toward the solution.

As humans, we’re in partnership with each other, and we’re participants in this time of great change. As a yoga teacher, practitioner, or student, you undoubtedly feel the energy of metamorphosis in your body and soul. Know that as you continue to self-reflect and meet your emotional experience with mindfulness, you are playing an important role in the great unfolding. As we say in astrology: as above, so below.

See also The Power of Self-Inquiry for Uncovering the Real You

There’s a New Moon in Scorpio on November 7

Imagine yourself as a deep-sea diver: In order to descend to the bottom of the ocean floor, you must prepare by strengthening your lungs and developing stamina. You’ll need a deep breath, and an innate understanding that at some point on the journey, you’ll find yourself in a desperate race to the surface where you can breathe again. You’ll also need courage, because in the furious pursuit of air, panic and fear will invade your mind and you’ll have to surrender to your instincts, allowing them to guide you up and toward the light—into the oxygen.

Scorpio pushes you to face your fears in order to complete your mission. Some of us find the intensity of Scorpio compelling; others prefer to remain on the surface where air is plentiful. Regardless of your preference, the New Moon in the sign of Scorpio will ask you to look with courage at your unhealthy attachments and negative patterns, and anything else that scares you. With fluid connections to Neptune and Pluto here, expect revelations and epiphanies to arrive with a glimmer of fairy dust—especially if you get quiet and yield to what’s trying to emerge.

During this New Moon time, make it a goal to be especially present in your Savasana. Use this dedicated time of stillness to allow inner intelligence to bubble up like a spring, releasing the exact information and wisdom you’ve been looking for.

Open up and allow Venus to mend your heart. 

Venus Goes Direct November 16

Venus has been in retrograde since October 5, which has given us wisdom about living in integrity with our value systems and personal truths. During the retrograde period, imagine that you’ve been cleaning out a room deep within your heart, one filled with old grievances and pains that are connected to love. As Venus goes direct in the sign of Libra, it’s as if you’re opening a window in your mending heart and allowing a cool, fresh breeze to swirl in. The crisp air is invigorating and carries with it a newfound stability and resolve. Because you’ve done the difficult work of emptying your heart of old stories and have come to terms with your own worthiness, you can now enjoy new beginnings in love—and shift your focus elsewhere.

Your spine—a.k.a., your backbone—is an integral part of this particular strengthening process, so take advantage of the stream of vitality available now by incorporating Cobra Pose into your practice. Not only will it precisely support your backbone, but it will faithfully continue to open your heart.

See also Practice Safe Stretch in Cobra

Mercury Goes Retrograde Nov 16

Ignore what you’ve heard and don’t let a little Mercury Retrograde scare you: These happen approximately three times a year, and only last 20 days or so. Mercury rules the ways we exchange, interpret, and hold information, and none of us are particularly objective in those respects. These 20 days have the power to point out the places where you need to review and revise; where your memories aren’t accurate; where you’ve been unduly reactive; or where your thought processes have taken a turn toward bias and prejudice. This can be personally confrontational, and it might explain why Mercury Retrograde gets a bad rap. However, you might choose to look at it this way: Examining your mental landscape is a good thing.

This retrograde happens in the sign of Sagittarius, the daring big talker. This sign is where you become the educated, wise, and an explorer of uncharted territories—but it also brings with it a tendency to cover up the shadow side of things with cavalier enthusiasm. (Awkward silence? How about a joke to distract everyone!)

Retrogrades expose shadows though, and you’ll get a chance to see your Sagittarius characteristics (on a bad day they can be blowsy, evasive, dogmatic, and pretentious) in a whole new light. You’ll also have a chance to look at the ways you might use your own personal soapbox. Are your perspectives valid and useful—or are you being egotistical? The payoff of looking at all of this is renewed direction and the opportunity to chart new intellectual courses.

To support your mental movement at this time, practice Lotus (or Half Lotus) Pose. When your body is upright, your hips are open, and your mind is still, you’ll have space to make room for shifting perspectives, ideas, and unique new ways of relating to those around you.

See also Master Padmasana (Lotus Pose) in 6 Steps

Lotus pose helps open up the hips, relax the mind,, and shift your perspective. 

There’s a Full Moon on November 22

The Sun moves into the sign of Sagittarius on the same day as the Full Moon in Gemini. The planet Mercury rules Gemini, and so we continue the retrograde theme—this time in relationship to the Sun. In many ways, the Full Moon will bring tension between your sense of confidence (the Sun) and your vulnerabilities (the Moon). In this case, the complication spotlights the ways you use your intelligence.

Gemini reaches for the world with the mind by seeking variety in the immediate vicinity, gathering information and puzzling it together to make a whole. On the other hand, Sagittarius seeks knowledge in grand ways, looking for the answers in adventures and faraway enlightenment. Which version will you choose to utilize—the details or the big picture? And will you reason with confidence or through the lens of your vulnerabilities?

A connection to Jupiter can make everything seem much bigger than it really is, and a tough connection to Mars can make you irritable about it all. What’s more, these dynamics will be playing out smack in the middle of the Thanksgiving holiday this year. Full Moons are a time to release the things you no longer need, so stay as present with yourself as possible, being curious about your experience and reactions.

If you do find yourself feeling the effect of this Full Moon surrounded by those you love, Channel-Cleaning Breath is a wonderful technique. Inhale the good stuff, exhale the “bull-stuff,” as they say.

About the Author 
Natha Campanella is a Certified Life Coach, professional astrologer, and podcaster (coming November 2018). More than just analyzing astrological archetypes, she gives dynamic interpretations of entire life stories by opening windows straight into the personal, family, and relationship dynamics of her clients. She aims to transform the people she works with by helping them make meaning of the gifts, burdens, and various complexities of being human. You can find her on nathacampanella.com, Instagram, and Facebook.

See also Astrology: What Your Sign Says About Your Ideal Partner



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This 5-Minute Meditation for Parents Will Save Your Sanity

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Here’s how one woman bridges the sacred world of meditation with the reality of motherhood.

Want to find a little calm when your kids are bringing the crazy?This meditation for parents is proof that it is possible to carve out quiet, sacred moments, even on the most crazy-making days.

Meditation and parenthood: this may appear to be an oxymoron, as the words conjure up images that seem contradictory—the serene meditator enjoying the silence in their quiet mind, versus a frazzled, unkempt mother or father surrounded by chaos. But many years working in war zones has taught me something new: the power of meditative moments. Short, conscious moments of calm, infused throughout the day, can be your most useful tool against the confusion and disorder of parenting. 

See also 5 Kid-Friendly Animal Poses to Introduce Children to Yoga

“I Learned to Meditate in a War Zone”

One morning in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the air still ripe with the echoes of last night’s bullets, I sat at the foot of my hotel room bed and practiced listening meditation. It was all I could think to do to slow my terrified, rapid heartbeat. I quieted my mind, closed my eyes, and opened my ears.

At first, I only heard the sound of military-grade vehicles and sirens. Then, beneath, the wail of a baby, the beat of African drums pulsing through transistor radio static, and a woman laughing—reminders of humanity’s common desire for peace, a fresh moment to connect to something bigger and more sane than war. My heart slowed; I opened to the day ahead, whatever would come.

For me, motherhood has been a bit like working in a war zone. Not to diminish what living through war is like, but the constant vigilance, the drain on the adrenal system, the sustained lack of sleep, and the loss of regular bathing and meals, all felt very familiar with my firstborn. And, as such, some of the meditation practices I had adapted to my life as a human rights activist became applicable.

See also Mindful Parenting: 4 Yoga Poses to Quell Kids’ Separation Anxiety

This 5-Minute Meditation Can Save Your Sanity

Here’s a practice I call “Taking a Lap”: Both kids are screaming now, because it’s a cruel fact that when one child starts screeching, like macaws, the other will inevitably chime in. In the cacophony, it’s hard to distinguish one’s needs from the other’s, and, to be honest, I don’t really care. I’ve reached my edge. Every parent has one. This is the crucial moment I take my lap.

Whether they need to be in the car or not, I strap the kids into their five-point harnesses, roll up the windows, close the car doors, and exhale, knowing they are safe and immobilized. I drop into my listening mind. Taking a deep breath, I look to the sky and push all of my frustration out in one loud sigh. Then, placing my attention on my feet, I walk slowly, heel to toe, around the car. To an outsider, it may appear as though I’m simply taking the long way around to the driver’s seat, but in my mind I am a wandering ascetic, and to my nervous system each step is a healing balm.

Heel to toe . . . heel to toe . . . I listen.

At first, I hear the sounds of other cars in the parking lot, groceries being hauled into power-lifted cargo doors. Then, underneath, a teenager crying at the coffee shop next door, her heartache palpable in each sob. And there, way in the background, the birds singing loudly, while the air itself makes music through the trees, just as it always has; another fresh moment to reconnect.

No matter which shrieks come pouring through the door, whether laughter or tears, I know that it’s workable. In one three-minute, conscious lap around the car, that edge, so solid only moments before, softens. I am a warrior newly readied for battle.

See also 5 Ways to Ground Yourself and Prepare to Teach Kids’ Yoga

I married a man who was hit by his father for misbehaving. My own grandfather hit my dad and his brothers from pent-up frustration and anger. In fact, four out of five Americans believe it is “sometimes appropriate” to spank children. Part of the problem is that violence is learned and it is cyclical: Our children literally navigate the world by watching our every move, and that’s a lot of pressure. Add in sleep deprivation, financial stress, and a pace of life that could make Olympic athletes tire, and it’s not hard to see how we can fall into behaviors that allow our microaggressions to take center stage.

My antidote lies in practicing meditative moments.

“What were you looking for, Mommy?” my three-year-old asks after watching me stare at the asphalt as I slowly crept around the car.

“My sanity,” I reply.

“Oh. Did you find it?” she asks, hopefully.

“Yes I did,” I can honestly say. “It was somewhere between the back bumper and the rear right tire.”

And this is how I’ve come to bridge the sacred world of meditation with the profane reality of motherhood; by carving out short moments of “big mind,” I can better handle life’s “small mind” moments. Instead of recreating the painful patterns of our pasts, we have the unique opportunity to spin a different tale for our grandchildren.

See also This Is the Guide to Yoga and Meditation We Wish We Had Growing Up

The other day, my now six-year-old daughter wandered into the forest, heel to toe . . . heel to toe. She said she was “looking for her calm.” I knew then, if nothing else, that my often desperate, sometimes ridiculous-looking moments of street-side walking meditation had provided her with the invisible tool my own mother gifted me decades before, a tool that’s saved me from coming unhinged time and again.

When it comes to meditation and motherhood, my only advice is to create your own meditative moments and practice them regularly, so when you come up against your edgier places you will know exactly what to do with them.

Excerpted from The Unexpected Power of Mindfulness and Meditation with permission from Dover Publications.



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Your Diet and Hormones Are More Connected Than You Think—Here's How to Balance Them Naturally with Food

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A hormone-balancing diet requires healthy digestion, stable sugar levels and a well-functioning liver. Let us show you how to get back in balance naturally.

Learn how to balance your hormones naturally with food.

Just like you, I’ve suffered from many hormonal imbalances. At first, I bought into the belief that hormonal problems are genetic or that the causes are “unknown.” 

Some of you may have been told that there is little you can do about your hormones apart from taking birth control pills or supplementing your body’s natural hormones. This may be the case for some women, but what I have discovered on my journey is that there is more.

I’ve found that hormonal balance requires healthy digestion, stable sugar levels, and a well-functioning liver. Restoring your gut, sugar levels, and liver health will not only rebalance your hormones but will reverse many other, seemingly unconnected ailments that might have been plaguing you for years, such as seasonal allergies, hives, chronic pain, depression, and anxiety.

I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to lead large online communities of women who have gone through my hormone-balancing diet, with life-changing results. When I polled the community about the biggest change that this way of eating had created for them, I thought I was going to read replies pertaining to weight loss, better sleep, or better mental function. To my surprise, the biggest benefit the women reported was having learned to “listen” to their bodies.

This skill will set you free.

For some of you, just eliminating gluten and dairy from your diet might resolve years of suffering. For others (and that’s me), it takes some real tuning in and figuring out what foods your body loves and what it rejects. By eating the “rejected” foods, you are in a constant state of inflammation that won’t bring you to hormonal balance and bliss.

See also Yoga for Women’s Health: The Best Pose and Acupressure Point to Reduce Bloating

I learned to cook because I had to—to save my life and sanity. I’m 45 years old. I’ve gone through having Graves’ disease, Hashimoto’s disease, adrenal fatigue stage II, estrogen dominance, and hypoglycemia. I’ve battled chronic Candida, heavy-metal poisoning, bacterial infections (H. pylori), and parasitic infections (many times!), and I’ve had active Epstein-Barr virus (aka mononucleosis). Despite “eating well,” I’ve suffered irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). For years, I dealt with an addiction to coffee and cigarettes. My neurotransmitters were so out of whack at one point that I became abusive to the one person I loved the most, which ended our many future plans and hopes. Yet despite all this, I came out on the other end. I’m in better health today than I have been since I was 20 years old.

What I have learned is that our health is a journey, especially for those of us with difficult childhoods, past trauma, and undetected lingering infections. This journey can be highly frustrating and unrewarding at times; after all, I’ve committed my life resources to healing and I do not always get the results I hope for. Nevertheless, I’ve come to appreciate this journey, as with every obstacle comes deep understanding and discovery that you will learn and benefit from. What fascinates me equally is how this journey has armed me with the “soft” coping skills of patience and self-forgiveness. Without those, there will be no healing.

So, back to hormones. They are responsible for how you think, feel, and look. A woman with balanced hormones is sharp and upbeat, with a good memory. She feels energetic without caffeine during the day, falls asleep quickly, and wakes refreshed. She is blessed with a healthy appetite and maintains a desired weight with a good diet. Her hair and skin glow. She feels emotionally balanced and responds to stress with grace and reason. When menstruating, her menses comes and goes with no or little PMS. She has an active sex life. She can maintain a full-term pregnancy. When entering perimenopause or menopause, she slides into a new phase of life with ease. If that doesn’t describe you, your hormones are imbalanced. Don’t despair. You are not alone. Millions of women experience hormonal imbalance. The good news is, you can rebalance your hormones naturally and resolve your symptoms. Here are a few quick ways to start to assess what imbalances you might be suffering from.

See also Yoga for Women’s Health: The Best Pose & Acupressure Point to Relieve Menstrual Cramps & PMS

Hormonal Imbalances

High Cortisol: You are in a state of chronic stress, and your adrenals are working extra hard. Family issues, poor relationships, job problems, finances, overexercising, and past trauma and abuse could be causes, as could chronic digestive issues or infections. 

Low Cortisol: If you have low cortisol levels, you have had high cortisol levels for a while now and your adrenals are therefore too tired to produce sufficient cortisol. To confirm whether you do have low cortisol levels, it’s important to get a diagnosis from a qualified functional physician and get a urine or saliva test four times a day.

Low Progesterone: Low progesterone can be caused by excess cortisol levels (from chronic stress) or excess estradiol, the antagonistic estrogen produced in your body or introduced externally as synthetic estrogens (known as “xenoestrogens”) from skin-care and house-cleaning products. High cortisol levels are inflammatory and can block progesterone receptors, inhibiting progesterone from doing its work. When stressed, we end up with less progesterone.

High Estrogen (Estrogen Dominance): This condition can manifest in a few ways. You could have more estradiol (E2), the antagonistic estrogen, compared with estriol (E3) and estrone (E1), which often happens when many xenoestrogens, or synthetic estrogens, are present in your life. Second, you might have insufficient progesterone to oppose estradiol (even if your estradiol levels are within range). Estrogen dominance can also happen when there are more antagonistic estrogen metabolites (which are the byproducts of estrogen metabolism). Visceral fat also produces estradiol. Women with high testosterone levels (and often polycystic ovarian syndrome, or PCOS) can suffer from estrogen dominance, too. This is because testosterone gets converted to estradiol in the aromatization process. Inhibiting this process can break the cycle of estrogen production and relieve symptoms of estrogen dominance.

See also Yoga for Menopause: Alleviate Symptoms with Yoga

Low Estrogen: Declining estrogen levels typically happen to women going into perimenopause and menopause, but I have seen young women suffering from stress and toxic lifestyles experience this too. The ovaries are producing less estrogen because of aging, stress (and high cortisol levels), or toxicity.

High Testosterone (Androgen Dominance): The leading cause is high sugar levels. Polycystic ovarian syndrome is commonly caused by androgen dominance. While making dietary changes, get a formal diagnosis of PCOS and high testosterone level.

Low Testosterone: Most often, when the adrenals are exhausted, they also underproduce testosterone.

Underactive Thyroid (Hypothyroidism and/or Hashimoto’s Disease): Sadly, too many thyroid conditions go undiagnosed because of incomplete tests and wrong lab ranges that conventional doctors use. The consensus among functional practitioners is that 30 percent of the population experiences subclinical hypothyroidism (this means the symptoms are subtle). This could be an underestimate. One study in Japan found 38 percent of the healthy subjects to have elevated thyroid antibodies (indicating the body’s immune system attacking the thyroid). Another study reports that 50 percent of patients, mostly women, have thyroid nodules. If you have been diagnosed with hypothyroidism, it was most likely caused by Hashimoto’s disease, an autoimmune condition. When you put out the fire in your gut and the immune system, you may see your thyroid health improve and symptoms subside or go away.

Insulin Resistance or Leptin Resistance:
If you eat processed carbohydrates (including cereals, puffy rice, breads, bagels, pasta, cakes, and cookies), sugar (found in incredibly high amounts in most packaged foods), or processed proteins (such as protein shakes), it’s likely you have a problem with sugar. It first manifests with high and/or low blood-sugar levels (you feel cranky, unfocused, lightheaded, and tired when hungry) and ends up with a full metabolic disorder such as insulin or leptin resistance. Women suffering from high testosterone or PCOS tend to have elevated sugar levels or insulin or leptin resistance. The good news is this: These conditions are completely reversible with diet, exercise, detoxification, and stress management The key to balance is not too much or too little of any hormone. Where fat is stored in your body can tell a bigger picture—one of a hormonal imbalance.

See also 6 Tricks to Make Your Supplements Work Better for Your Body

Listening To Your Body

Once you know about the role of food in balancing hormones, you can create daily eating habits that work best for you. Certainly, eating a whole-food diet and an abundance of green, leafy vegetables while reducing the amount of processed foods, sugar, and alcohol in your diet is a good place to start. But there is no one-size-fits-all diet plan or nutritional protocol that will work for every single woman. You have probably noticed that the same food affects you and a family member or friend differently. Perhaps your best friend can’t stop talking about how great quinoa is, but you find it upsets your stomach. Or, you love fermented vegetables as a good source of probiotics, but your colleague can’t tolerate them, breaking out in hives and feeling itchy and anxious after just a bite. One person’s health food can be another person’s poison. The only way to find a diet that supports your health is to respect your body and listen to what it tells you about which foods are friends and which are foes. Start with small changes and the recipes here, and see what you notice.

See also Yoga for Women’s Health: The Best Pose & Acupressure Point to Reduce Irritability During Your Period

About the Author

Magdalena Wszelaki is a holistic nutrition coach and founder of the popular Hormones & Balance online community. Learn more at hormonesbalance.com.

Excerpted from Cooking for Hormone Balance by Magdalena Wszelaki, HarperOne, 2018. Reprinted with permission.



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Postmenopausal Yoga Poses You Need to Keep Bones and Joints Healthy

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Enjoy your postmenopausal years by caring for yourself and continuing a steady yoga practice.

Learn the yoga poses that will help you continue a steady practice after menopause.

After menopause, you experience a drop in both estrogen and oxytocin (the love hormone). The decline of estrogen means postmenopausal bones can become brittle and joints can become stiff. The upside of this stage is that you’re done with the hormonal fluctuations that may have wreaked havoc on your emotional life. “Most women are elated that they are now free of the monthly changes, and they feel a renewed zest for life,” Brizendine says. For many, this comes at a time when the steep climb up the career ladder and the intensely demanding years of caring for children are over, and you can enjoy more time caring for yourself.

See also Yoga for Women’s Health: The Best Pose and Acupressure Point to Reduce Bloating

Adapting Your Practice for Postmenopause

Weight-bearing poses may help keep your bones strong and improve joint function. And a consistent asana practice can help maintain your range of motion and flexibility, but keep in mind that as your body changes, you might need to modify poses and use more props. Many women naturally gravitate toward quieter practices like meditation and pranayama in this phase of life. “We have given our lives to so many others for so long that now it’s just about coming home,” Northrup says. “The aging process doesn’t need to be about deterioration. That has always been a message of yoga.”

Real experience

Many yoginis are able to maintain athletic and dynamic practices well into their 60s. When de los Santos posed for these photos, she was 55 and taught at least 12 classes a week, and she enjoyed practicing advanced poses, like drop backs, (dropping back from a standing position into a full backbend). She can still do the same poses she did in her 20s, but after a lifetime of yoga, she’s keenly aware that that isn’t what really matters. “I know from experience that at any age or shape you can transform mind, body, and heart,” she says. She loves calming poses like Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend) during times of stress. And when she can’t practice, she still cultivates yoga by being aware and appreciative. “I can honestly say that I feel bliss and happiness every day.”

See also The Truth About Forward Bends

3 Postmenopausal Yoga Poses You Need to Keep Bones and Joints Healthy

About the Author

Nora Isaacs, a former editor at Yoga Journal, is the author of Women in Overdrive: Find Balance and Overcome Burnout at Any Age. Learn more about her writing and editing work at noraisaacs.com.



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