Cancer season is well underway, bringing an energy that is deeply healing, strengthening, and nurturing—whether you need to care for yourself or others. You don’t need to have Cancer placements in your astrological chart to work with this energy, both in and out of your yoga practice.
In the zodiac, Cancer is the energy that embodies the directional movement toward qualities like care, nurture, intuition, heightened psychic awareness, and protection. Cancer is a water sign, which means it relates to emotions and intuition. It’s also a cardinal sign, which means it initiates movement into these watery spaces.
Cancer is ruled by the moon: It spreads light into the darkness and draws awareness into your deeply held emotions, subconscious qualities, and intuition. In yoga, Cancer energy can not only enhance practices such as yin yoga or Chandra Namaskar (Moon Salute), but it also has specific energetic and physical areas that it awakens.
How to tap into Cancer energy through yoga
Astrology-Yoga (Astro Yoga) dates back thousands of years. Throughout history, the physical and subtle body connection to the zodiac was utilized by yogis, astrologers, and doctors—yes, doctors! Ayurveda still utilizes astrology; and medical schools in Europe required an astrology exam until the 17th century.
Astro Yoga can get incredibly technical, but it doesn’t have to be. Here what you need to understand about Cancer season energy:
- In the subtle body, Cancer energy relates to the Anahata (heart) chakra and the Ajna (third eye) chakra. Working with this energy can draw the head and the heart into alignment.
- Cancer energy also relates to Ida nadi (the left channel of the body), pranamaya kosha (the layer of the body connected to pranic motion of air), and to the tip of the ring finger (to be used when practicing hand mudras).
- Cancer energy manifests in the physical body through the chest and the belly. It’s within the chest and the belly that we literally receive nurture (the lungs nourish us with breath, and the belly with food and water), and it’s also here that we give nurture either literally, as in a mother nursing her child, or energetically, as in giving with an open heart.
To nurture, enliven, and awaken Cancer energy through yoga is to draw in the vital life balance of giving and receiving. When Cancer energy is in balance, you can be calm and steady, knowing that you are safe and that all your needs are being met.
A yoga practice for Cancer season
Parsva Balasana (Revolved Child’s Pose, Thread the Needle)
This posture aligns the Anahata and Ajna chakras, as well as tones and opens the Cancer-ruled chest.
From Tabletop, lift your right arm to the sky as you inhale. On your exhale, “thread” your right arm between your left arm and knee, resting your right shoulder on the ground. Breathe deeply. Come out on an inhale, lifting your right arm to the sky before placing your hand on the ground. Repeat on your left side.
This pose strengthens the Cancer-ruled chest area, while energetically preparing the body for the balance of giving and receiving.
From Tabletop, step your feet back and lift your knees. Engage your shoulders, pressing firmly through your hands in order to firm and strengthen your chest. Draw your low ribs together slightly to ensure integrity and engagement through the Cancer-ruled areas of the body.
This pose stretches the Cancer-ruled chest, and it opens, strengthens, and supports the anahata chakra.
From downward facing dog, lift your right leg and stack your hips. Bend your right knee. Flip to the left, lifting your right hand alongside your head, and placing your right toes on the ground. Breathe deeply and repeat on the other side.
This pose strengthens and opens the Cancer-ruled chest, while creating balance in an asymmetric shape.
Lunge your right foot forward, placing your left knee on the ground. Reach your arms up, and draw the shoulder blades together on your back. Curl the upper back into a slight backbend. Breathe into the width of your chest.
This posture creates balance in the Cancer-ruled chest and belly, allowing for an energetic balance between giving and receiving.
Sit and lift your legs, reaching your arms forward. Lengthen your spine and lift your heart slightly. Hold for several breaths.
This posture opens the Cancer-ruled chest while connecting to the energetic channels (nadis) that allow for fluid energetic flow.
From Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog), step your right foot forward, drawing your right knee toward your right wrist. Energetically draw your legs together to lift your hands and torso. Bend your left knee, and place your left foot in the crook of your left elbow. Lift your arm and clasp your left fingertips. Repeat on the other side.
This posture opens the Cancer-ruled chest and Anahata chakra.
Lie face-down on your mat. Bend your knees and reach back for your feet or ankles. Once you connect with your feet, kick your feet back and up, engaging the quadricep muscles in order to draw the chest open.
This posture roots the water-energy of Cancer season firmly in the earth. It allows the Cancer-associated areas of the body an opportunity to relax and release, while pressing the Ajna chakra into the earth for additional grounding energy.
From Tabletop, press your hips back and extend your arms. Rest your forehead on the earth and breathe deeply.
About the Author
Emily Ridout is an Astro Yoga specialist, astrologer, and yoga teacher. Find her online at emilyridout.com.