5 Ways To Thrive During Mercury Retrograde
Aug 26, 2020
by Haridev Clarke
Expect to see numerous articles in your Facebook and Twitter feeds during the next few weeks about the perils, frustrations and annoyances of mercury retrograde. This is not one of those articles.
As a space policy wonk and reluctant astrology reader, I am likely the last person you would expect to write about mercury retrograde. But I am writing this as a Kundalini yoga teacher, recognizing how holding stress in our current time can impact our whole selves.
What is mercury retrograde? Japa Kaur, the amazing weekly Spirit Voyage astrologer, describes it best:
“The planet of the mind appears to be moving backward in the sky. As a result, it feels as if our own minds are moving backward as well! We lose our car keys, drop our phone, addresses and directions get confused, traffic is muddled, and interpersonal communication is unclear. This is not a time to buy anything with mechanical or electrical parts, and furthermore, you should refrain from signing any contracts. When Mercury is in retrograde, we need to stop and rewind. It is not a time for moving forward. It is a time to review the past. Go through old boxes of photographs, clean out your closet, review old journals, and get re-inspired by lyrics, quotes, or yoga books. Perhaps there is a relationship that needs re-working. Maybe there is a old flame with whom you left on difficult terms. This is an opportunity to go back and re-hash some details so that you can both move forward in a more clean and karma-free way.
In addition, this is a good time to get back money that is owed to you. Collect debts and pay back debts that you owe. Return library books and get that shirt back that you lent to a friend.” – Japa Kaur
I understand the craziness around mercury retrograde. I have experienced disruption and confusion at the most inopportune times during these periods. During mercury retrograde one June, all of my detailed plans for everything I needed to do for my business and home in advance of Summer Solstice went awry. Next thing I knew, I missed my flight out of Washington, DC to New Mexico. (Thankfully I got on another flight only a few hours later.) Was that because of mercury retrograde? I do not know for certain. Was it stressful? Oh yeah!
After experiences like that, the fears of the impending retrograde can get us into protection and “fight or flight” mode – the realm of the negative mind. While very important, the negative mind can get out of balance and overwhelm the positive mind, or your ability to see hope and beauty in each situation.
How can we thrive through the potential forthcoming communication breakdowns? Here are a few ideas:
1) Prioritize and Simplify:
- Ask yourself – what do I HAVE to get done before the date when mercury goes direct (or retrograde ends)?
- Identify what is not urgent and make a list of “to do post-mercury retrograde” to keep your schedule a bit more open to allow for potential changes and confusion that may ensue during this period. (This is what I should have done in advance of that Summer Solstice…)
- Get comfortable with not completing EVERYTHING on your task list during this period.
2) Balance your Negative and Positive Minds:
- When either of these two of our ten bodies get out of balance, we feel out of balance, especially when experiencing or seeing others with stress around us.
- Balancing our negative mind, which corresponds with our second chakra (the seat of our creativity and sexuality), will enable us to balance our needs for freedom and belonging. These mantras, kriyas, and meditations are great tools for the negative mind.
- Balancing our positive mind, which corresponds with our third chakra (our place of action and balance), will enable us to strengthen our sense of humor and our organizational skills. These mantras, kriyas, and meditations are great tools for the positive mind.
3) Slow down and Focus:
- Recognizing that schedules and communications may get kooky and disrupted in the next few weeks, take time to slow down, and allow yourself to act rather than react in response to oncoming stress.
- A way to explore this is through a practice of mindful eating. Even with just the first five bites of each meal, take a moment to look at, smell, and be present with your food before eating it – with no other distractions. With each bite, observe, feel, and fully taste each morsel. Saying no to multitasking while eating with your smartphone, TV, or laptop may feel strange at first, but being present with only your food will allow you to seize a few moments of calm that can brighten your day even when stress abounds around you.
- Do you deal with a lot of details each day?
- When you are prepping for a potluck picnic, are you the one who rushes back to the grocery store across town at the last minute when you forgot the blueberries for your strawberry and blueberry salad? You may want to be ready to take a breather and make a strawberry salad instead.
5) Make Space to Breathe:
One of my most loved Kundalini yoga manuals is Praana Praanee Praanayam, an amazing resource of Kundalini yoga breathing exercises.
I have many favorites exercises in this book, but during mercury retrograde, I expect I will savor the technology of the Eight Stroke Breath for Energy and Stress Release.
- Sit with your eyes closed, hands in Gyan Mudra or any other comfortable position. Inhale through the nose in 8 equal strokes, and then exhale through the nose in one deep and powerful stroke. Practice for 11 minutes, and end with three long deep powerful breaths, holding the breath in for 10-20 seconds each time, and rolling the shoulders as fast as you can during the final breath.
Regardless of what you feel about mercury retrograde and its impact on your life, it is likely that the next few weeks will have its crazy and stressful moments. Seize the amazing tools of Kundalini yoga to thrive in these challenging times!