31 Dec YOGIC WISDOM FOR solar eclipse
A solar eclipse occurs when the sun, moon and Earth are aligned on the same axis so that the moon completely blocks the sun.
Animals can actually sense an Eclipse and often display erratic behavior before and during the event. For example, during a Solar Eclipse, spiders dismantle their webs and build them up again once the Eclipse had passed. With all these subtle, yet noticeable effects in nature around us, it is very likely that a Solar Eclipse affects Human beings on a much deeper level than we even realize.
How does it really affect us?
Solar and lunar eclipses are significant events at a spiritual level. The effects of full eclipses are far more than partial eclipses. Generally, there is an increase in Rajas and Tamas due to obstruction of the light from the Sun even before it reaches the Earth. Thus, the environment on Earth becomes far more vulnerable at a subtle level and thereby more conducive for negative energies. The maximum subtle impact of an eclipse on humans depends on where it is most visible. The more visible it is, the greater the subtle impact on people in that region. The increased Rajas-Tamas during an eclipse has a residual effect that subsides over many months.
Our circadian rhythms are dependent on the rising and setting of the Sun, and when darkness falls during the middle of the day even just for a few hours, it definitely has an influence on our body. Anything happening in the vast space also happens with us also at some level!
How to safeguard ourselves?
Apart from the normal precautions like not watching a solar eclipse with naked eyes (to avoid retinal injuries), the following should also be kept in mind:
- Reduce Rajas and Tamas activities: Avoid doing things like sleeping, eating or sexual intercourse as they are Rajas-Tamas predominant and only leave us more vulnerable to negative energies.
- Avoid planning important functions: As a lot of Rajas and Tamas frequencies are transmitted during the eclipse period, any auspicious events like inaugurations, marriages, important business deals etc. done during this period do not yield expected results. Hence it is advisable to avoid all such important social functions during an eclipse period.
- Avoid Cooking: cook and eat at least 3 hours before an eclipse: The sun’s blue and ultraviolet radiations act as natural disinfectants. However, during a solar eclipse their intensity and wavelength are not the same as on other normal days. As a result, the rays do not perform their usual role of cleansing our food, and there is an uncontrolled growth of microorganisms in food products. Hence it is advised that digestive processes should not conflict with the duration of a solar eclipse. Any leftover food can also get contaminated by absorbing the harmful effects of the sun’s radiation during the eclipse. Therefore, it is better not to store old, leftover food made before the eclipse occurred. Prepare fresh food after the eclipse has ended. Use turmeric while cooking, as it has antibacterial properties. You can also place a darbha grass (Desmotachya Bipinnata) in fermentable food items such as curd during the solar eclipse. Darbha grass is a natural disinfectant and can be used as a food preservative. It can be removed once the eclipse is over.
- Avoid consumption of Food and Water: The increase in the subtle Rajas-Tamas in the atmosphere during the period of an eclipse affects food as well as the digestive processes. Also the sun being the source of all life and energy, the human body’s energy levels reduce. This also slows down the digestion process. Hence it is advisable to avoid meals during the period of the eclipse. The time period when we should avoid meals depends on the type of eclipse. This is because the amount of sunlight or moonlight reaching Earth depends on the percentage area of the Sun or Moon covered during the eclipse. Typically, for a total eclipse, one should avoid meals 12 hours prior to the onset of the eclipse and if it’s 1/4th eclipse, then 3 hours prior to the onset is enough. Amongst the available food variety, ensure to choose light, easily-digestible vegetarian (sattvic) food and dry fruits. Similarly, you should avoid drinking water during an eclipse as well, because of the uncontrolled growth of microorganisms. If you have a health condition that requires frequent hydration, you can drink boiled water after cooling it down. Adding Tulsi leaves (Holy Basil) can help adding a protective layer, because of its antiviral properties.
How can we benefit from the Solar Eclipse?
A few moments of complete darkness during the day, actually is a reminder of our place in the cosmos – the fact that we are part of something much larger than ourselves – This is a very powerful foundation for building virtues of mindfulness, humility, forgiveness and devotion.
Regular spiritual practice, especially done throughout the year, ensures that we are insulated from the subtle adverse effects of an eclipse. In addition, intense spiritual practice during the eclipse can be very recharging for individual spiritual growth as all three celestial bodies are aligned. Also, since eating is not advised during a solar eclipse, an empty stomach is conducive to meditation and chanting.
One of the most extraordinary times to practice yoga is during a solar eclipse, especially for anyone wanting to harness the power of the sun and moon’s alignment with the earth. Performing yoga during the solar eclipse, can profoundly enhance the general benefits of a regular yoga practitioner. Below are the yoga poses for your solar eclipse experience:
1. Kapalabhati (Breathing Technique) – During the eclipse, some amount of suffocation is developed in the environment because of the new moon. Hence, it is highly recommended to take good care of breathing by practicing Kapalabhati.
2. Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation) : To respect the drowning sun during the eclipse, it is recommended to practice Surya Namaskar. Multiple rounds of Surya Namaskar helps to keep up the blood circulation, reduce anxiety and profoundly enhance the spiritual power of an individual.
3. Anjaneyasana (Crescent Lung Pose): The partial Sunlight during the eclipse, passing through gaps in leaves on trees project a Crescent image of the sun. In alignment to nature, this heart-opening posture also effectively stretches out your legs, groin, squads and iliopsoas. The pose resembles a young, divine child (Anjaneya – Lord Hanuman), reaching towards the sky and the warmth of the Sun, captivated by a glowing fruit in the sky, as depicted in the Hindu epic.
4. Virabhadhrasana (Warrior Pose and variations): This is a superb pose to celebrate your inner strength and courage by acknowledging your inner spiritual warrior against the negative energies like ego, ignorance etc.
5. Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon Pose): There is a huge connection between this pose and the sun and moon cycles. More than just building leg and ankle strength, this standing balance invites you to tap into both the calm, balancing energy of the moon and the fiery force of the sun. In this pose, you discover how the coming together of two opposing energies generates a power that is greater than its separate parts.
6. Chandra Namaskar (Moon Salutation): A calming sequence where you can bow to and cultivate the moon’s soothing lunar energy.
7. Savasana is recommended for its calming effect, consolidation of energies and reducing the flow of negative energy in the body.
Incorporate these poses into your practice on the next solar eclipse and experience the enhanced benefits at that special moment in time. By incorporating breath control into these poses, you can find yourself becoming more and more aware of the cycles all around you and able to sync yourself with them to find more balance in your life.
Nature is said to take care of itself during a solar eclipse. The songbird stops singing, animals move to their night shelters and some flowers close up. When the rest of creation is in sync with higher energies, it would be wise for humans also to learn how to navigate through the transformative times.
The moon is approximately 400 times smaller in diameter, than the sun and 400 times closer to the Earth. And yet, this smaller entity can indeed block the light from reaching Earth. Power is sometimes a factor of right circumstances, rather than size. Hence no matter how small we think we are, we can create circumstances to bring about a change in the world. Recognize the shadow of negative emotions like anger, grief, fear etc. casting themselves over the unlimited light trying to shine from within you. Find inspiration in your daily Yoga practice to build your inner strength. You can also watch this short video by Swamiji on how to master your emotions and shine forth your own light.
Eclipses can be perceived as the Universe’s guiding hand to reveal us our next chapter of growth. Hence Eclipses are nothing but grace unfolding!