A growing Taurean full moon during Mercury Retrograde in Scorpio on an auspicious day – 11:11. Things are moving in the right direction – he’s FaceTiming me while he’s on vacation. He asks me what I’m doing on my birthday. He asks me what I’m doing on New Year’s eve. A part of me is excited. The other half is yelling – too much too soon. I want to run to the Great Barrier Reef in the depth of the sea or to meditate in the heights of the Himalayas. Instead of running away, I tell him exactly what I’m feeling. This is intense. Or I like moving slowly. He (a Leo Moon) takes it well. He doesn’t completely pull away nor suddenly halts his communication. His response lowers my anxiety levels – he acknowledges my individuality and his – we are two separate people – he’s just excited.
The situation takes me down memory lane to a Sunday morning boxing class. I had arrived to the class in what felt like an uncontrollable state of rage. As soon as we got to our punching bag circuits, I only had one goal in mind: to force the rage out of my body. I started punching and slowly started becoming so engrained in my rage, that is wasn’t until the instructor approached me that I returned back to reality. “Are you angry right now?” He asked. I lowered my vision and nodded my head. “I can tell. You aren’t moving strategically. You aren’t moving with intention. You’re moving sloppily. You’re wasting energy. I want you to focus on keeping your body as compact as possible. Keep your arms close to your body and when you jab, focus all your energy on the most effective way to move your arm in a way that both exerts force and conserves energy. Let’s try this again.” The memory of his words take me to my most trusted practice: yoga. I’ve been practicing yoga since 2012. If there’s a practice out there that really values the conservation of energy (outside of life itself), I would say it’s yoga. While I can easily do a 360 backbend or a split right at the beginning of class, I have understood that doing so is unnecessary. To go into the full expression of a posture at the beginning of class, would require a lot more physical and mental effort. What muscles do I have to engage? What muscles do I have to relax? How far will the breath let me go? Rather than going full speed at the beginning, an asana practice invites us to allow agni to build in our bodies. The building of agni, that inner fire, promotes an internal movement that helps lubricate our joints. Lubricated joints are naturally more mobile. Have you ever tried practicing yoga in a hot room? That external agni helps us build our internal agni with quickness – hence why a lot more seems possible inside that hot room. Yet you don’t need a hot room to build that inner fire – changing the pace of your breath to Kapalbhati (breath of fire), will help build that up for you (so will doing cardio or lifting before yoga!). By allowing the agni to build, expressing a deep backbend or split at the end of class comes with ease. I bring my life experiences back to reality and come to acknowledge: there is value in the slow build of the fire.
I think of Taurus. A Venusian sign that understands, a bit more than the others, the value of a slow build. My Mars is in Taurus. I can relate. Taurus is a fixed, earth sign and while it often gets a bad rep for being stubborn, it can teach us a lot about the value of a steady build and solid follow-through. When we observe a situation and take a methodical approach to resolution, we conserve energy. In conserving energy, we remain in a calm state which gives us the mental clarity and physical vitality needed to act in dangerous situations. Remaining calm keeps our cortisol levels within healthy parameters and steers us away from entering into a state of fight or flight. While there are certain situations in life that require quick action (aka in moments where your survival is threatened), learning to work and direct your energy in a slightly slower (even if just a second) pace might be the thing that saves not just your life, but the life of others. Let us not forget that life does not occur in black and white extremes – you can act deliberately and quickly (I’m looking at every single one of you, trauma surgeons). Not all situations in our lives are metaphorical tigers. And in case you do run into an unleashed tiger or bear in the real world, it is my sincerest hope that your first instinct isn’t to run as fast as you can. Conservation of energy. A slow, methodical, strategic build might just be what saves the day.