Monday, August 21, 2017

A few words on this total solar eclipse...

by Gina Caputo, Founder and Director of the Colorado School of Yoga


Bottom line is that I respect all attitudes, philosophies and approaches to today’s total solar eclipse. But here’s been my trajectory of thoughts around it:

1) News: "There will be a total solar eclipse on August 21, 2017 that you can view across much of the United States”
Me: “Oh.” Promptly leaves mind.

2) Husband: “Hey, there’s going to be a total solar eclipse on Monday, August 21, maybe we should plan a camping trip up to Wyoming to see it, since they are more in the direct path?”
Me: “Ok, wow, you’re kind of into this, why?”
Husband: “Well, it doesn’t happen too many times in a lifetime, I think it would be cool to see.”
Me: “Ok, then sure, I’m always game for camping.”

3) People: “Eclipse, eclipse, eclipse, eclipse!!”
Me: “Dang, people are crazy into this thing, why don’t I feel more excited?”

4) News: “If you don’t have appropriate eyewear to view the eclipse, your eyes will explode.”
Me: “Really? I don’t get how looking at the sun on an eclipse day is any worse than looking directly at the sun on any other day? Let me investigate...”
People: “It’s worse on this day because you can actually stare at the sun for a prolonged period, unlike on “regular” days and you have no pain receptors in your retinas so you won’t register when you’re doing damage.”
Me: “Ohhhh, got it. Special glasses are needed.”

5) Me: “Better pick up some of those special glasses STAT.”
Everyone: “Nope, we’re all out.” (repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat until I hate the eclipse)
One dude on street corner: “I’ve got several pairs of these $1.50 paper glasses for sale at $25/pop.”
Me: “That’s some entrepreneurial spirit boss but you’re SO not hooking me. Buhbye.”

6) Me: “Eff this eclipse. I don’t even care anymore and people have lost their minds and want a distraction from world affairs. I’ll just watch the NASA live stream on Apple TV.”
Me: “Will I regret this?”
Me: “I think I have FOMO.”
Me: Looking up how to make cereal box pinhole viewer thingee…
Me: “Babe, I’m going to Sprouts to buy 2 boxes of cereal, be right back.”

Most people I know seem to be super excited to see it, are taking off work, driving to Oregon, making a thing out of it! Yet, within the “traditional” yoga community, some are espousing the Vedic Astrology position that a total solar eclipse represents the ascendance of shadow energy and that one should fast during the eclipse and stay inside to meditate. Wow, those are some polar opposite approaches! This got me thinking more about this idea of the moon “covering” the sun and what it means to me...


I happen to love the moon. I’m a Cancer so the moon is my ruling “planet” and I’m rooting for the moon today (Go Team Moon!). And I think this is a day that the moon gets to take center stage for a change. It’s luminescence is more subtle than the sun and yet it is equally important to Earth (my opinion) and quite powerful - did you know its presence and distance from the Earth are what keeps us rotating as we are on our axis at a speed that sustains life? Yes indeed, without it’s presence, we’d be spinning in total chaos and none of the life the Sun makes possible could survive (Learned this on PBS’s Nova - so much good stuff btw). 

In Hatha Yoga and Tantra, the moon represents Ida Nadi and the aspects of receptivity, calm, nurturing, soothing, intuition, consciousness, the parasympathetic nervous system, right brain dominance, and the restorative practices and activities that sustain our capacity for action (solar!). So I’m choosing to look at this eclipse as a way of championing these qualities in the world in a time of chaos. Not to say "take no action", of course, but maybe this eclipse is a way to recognize that action (sun) is served by receptivity, open mindedness and curiosity (moon) too!

So in a few hours, you might just find me meditating outside with a box of cereal/pinhole camera stuck to my face. Followed by a nice, long savasana before I jump back into action. May this eclipse be everything you want it to be!

Not my dog, just found it online :)