In this in-depth interview, Emily Ridout discusses how AstroYoga, dating back to at least 1350 BCE when the earliest-known text, Vendãnga Jyotisha by Lagadha was written, can be applied to improve your life today. She provides context for AstroYoga’s history, explaining the practice’s basic building blocks and how working with a knowledgeable guide can help facilitate your spiritual journey, health, and wellness.

A Beginners Guide to AstroYoga

What we’re working to do in AstroYoga is to allow every individual to integrate themselves, to embody the fullest expression of being, and to open to what is their cosmic path. 

—Emily Ridout  

AstroYoga teacher Emily Ridout sees this practice of AstroYoga as an opportunity for you to take ownership and co-creative intention with your life using the combined systems of Astrology and Yoga, which are thousands of years old. 

3 keys ways to use AstroYoga today.

In her new book, AstroYoga for an Aquarian Age, Emily Ridout outlines these 3 key ways to use this practice today: 

  1. to align with the present moment,
  2. to align with yourself – using the “life hack” of your Natal Chart,
  3. by combining these two: reading the Astrological charts and applying it to a transformative Yogic practice.

As Emily points out, “It can bring almost immediate benefits from discovering your purpose, to connecting with your own consciousness, and moving from a state of existence into a state of self-directed living. 

“It can help you move to a state of inner harmony so that those questions that we sometimes have, where we feel like something in life is out of alignment, no longer occur, because you inherently see each obstacle as a challenge to help shape you into what you can be in your consciousness, and maybe the erasure of self-doubt, the capacity to seek purpose in yourself and your life’s circumstances. 

“That is, the ability to see yourself as more than whatever the obstacle is. The capacity to grow and set into larger arenas that you’re ready to occupy.”

Map to the stars 

Imagine your AstroYoga guide as a cartographer who reads energetic maps for your health, happiness, and fulfilment. This guide can help teach you how to interpret and embody that knowledge in a productive way in your daily life, to reach short and long-term goals, and ultimately, advance your spiritual path into the future. Emily describes the map that corresponds to the Kundalini rising as “gaining access to a conscious awareness of how to direct your energy towards the highest aim that your soul has to fulfill in this life.” 

The term Kundalini is derived from the Sanskrit word “kundal” meaning “coiled energy” and once awakened, this energetic force radiating throughout your body, mind, and spirit is essentially, your most authentic self. 

Key building blocks 

“Meditation, Breathwork, and Asana (the physical Yogic positions) are going to be the key pieces of AstroYoga,” says Emily, “and we plan these intelligently, with an understanding that everything that happens in Astrology is also happening in the physical body as well as in the energetic body.” 

“There are physical associations with Astrology, energy body associations with Astrology,” she explains, “so through the building blocks of Yoga, Mudra (seal), Mantra (chant), Meditation (inner reflection), Asana (physical positions), Pranayama (breath), we implement the right practices for the energies that must be embodied for that person to experience alignment, fulfilment, and ease. 

All you have to do is look at The Encyclopedia of Medical Astrology to see how intense, and dense, and thick, and exact many physical associations with Astrology are,” she adds, explaining that up until the 17th Century, a period of scientific, political, and philosophical revolution known as the Age of Reason, medical doctors were required to study astrology to better understand this connection between mind, body, and spirit.

Good things start to happen. 

When you begin practicing AstroYoga, you may experience that shift in consciousness and quality of life almost immediately. As Emily points out, “Good things start to happen because with AstroYoga you have this map: you have your Natal Chart map, you have your Progressed Chart map, you have the Current Transit map, and other forms, and you have an energetic structure, and if you’re able to read that energetic structure, you can see specific pathways that must be embodied energetically in order for fulfillment to happen in that individual in that area of life.” 

To describe how AstroYoga supports this physical and spiritual journey, Ridout uses the analogy of Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Maslow’s pyramid represents 5 stages of human need beginning with the basic requirements for bodily survival and safety at the bottom of the pyramid, and ascending towards human fulfillment through love, esteem, and self-actualization. 

“What happens once you have a desire fulfilled,” Emily explains, “higher forms of desire take hold. And this is true on a spiritual path. When people first encounter systems like Yoga or Astrology, they use them to fulfill particular acute desires that are important to them at that moment and stage in their life. 

“Usually, it has something to do with relationships and love, receiving love, giving love, communally from another, like a partner, from their familial members from different places, or it has to do with material well-being, and making sure all of their needs are met, or it has to do something with their purpose, feeling that their life has purpose and meaning.”

“Once those sorts of desires are fulfilled, then people begin to look towards higher spiritual aims, which is why often people enter Yoga or AstroYoga, as you figure out how to make your body the healthiest it can be. 

Emily further explains that in the Shaivism Tantric tradition, there are 36 Tattvas, corresponding to different layers of consciousness or reality. Imagining a similar pyramid, the first level of Tattvas (36-32) correspond to the 5 basic elements of nature: Earth, Water, Fire, Wind, Space. 

Most people identify with our “human level identity: our name, our job, our hobbies, our place in their family, our society, how do I give back, that’s what we think we are.”

Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs

36 Tattvas

“But almost every human, there’s a whisper inside them, where they’re like, ‘That’s not it.’ They go to sleep, they dream at night, and they know that there’s so much more to them.” 

As you begin to practice AstroYoga, you instead identify more and more with those “tools or actions done by a higher aspect of your being which is more identified with a capacity of consciousness, the state of what we call in Yoga, the Svatantra, or pure freedom.” As Emily explains, “It has very little to do with sociocultural or political freedom and has everything to do with the freedom of spirit to choose to incarnate, in you, as you, through you, and to do these actions.” 

On this journey of self-discovery, a shift occurs from believing that you’re limited in a body, mind, or a particular moment in time and place, to celebrating that limitation we have chosen to inhabit and identifying with “that more free aspect which can then shift our capacity to act and to manifest circumstance in the limited plane of time, space, body, mind.” 

“Astrology lends us a doorway to a higher perspective of reality, because it is the mechanism in which we base time: days, minutes, hours, seconds, they’re all based in Astrology and actually have linguistic connections to it. 

“We have this understanding that time is yet another dimension and that your consciousness originated with the consciousness of the universe,” but “even if you aren’t consciously present in this particular moment,” a state Emily describes as “embodiment amnesia”, “your consciousness has access to any point in time and space. But that’s kind of a big concept in AstroYoga.” 

“Sometimes people think that their chart just is who they are, like it’s some cosmic personality test, and that’s true to a degree,” says Emily, who points out that instead, “You have the building blocks to build your consciousness to a higher level of awareness. 

“Just like a child starts off as a baby and they have to struggle to learn to walk, it’s like a similar metaphor, that we start off with our charts and we have to learn how to integrate these different placements. So, there’s lower and higher vibratory emanations of those placements, which is why no chart determines whether you’ll have a wonderful or terrible life, necessarily. It’s the choices you make, the integrative practices you employ. 

“This is one of the reasons why when people start Yoga, they notice things shift in their lives.” 

However, it’s human nature that as soon as things start to improve, we often abandon the same practice that made us feel better. Only when things start to go amuck again, comes that epiphany or aha moment that meditation is connected to that better alignment and integration in our lives. 

When challenges arise 

Emily explains that latent impressions or residue of past experiences that continue to influence your behaviour in the present are called Samskara: some impressions process through easily while others wedge themselves inside of you, physically, energetically. 

As you embark on this “AstroYogic path, you sometimes will have these periods of massive growth and joy, and sometimes, you’ll have these periods where you’re like, wow, it feels like I’ve been practicing and an extreme amount of frustration or anger or grief has come up in my body-mind.” 

Emily encourages that those are the exact moments when you should try to keep going. To burn Samskaras in meditation or Yoga practice means that the residual experiences cease to control your behaviors—each moment is responded to for what it is. 

“Of course, rest, do your Savasna practice, but also patiently sit with your practice because what often happens is the pain of the past, as it encounters these light-encoded practices, begins to surface and off-gas from your body-mind. So, at first, it’s an infusion of joy and then there will come a moment where you hit that first roadblock.”

Breaking through this roadblock can bring the same profound relief as when a masseuse kneads out a knot in your body. In the AstroYogic practice, this “knot” is usually emotional. 

“Why am I thinking about this thing from my past, or why do I feel a sense of sorrow when there doesn’t appear to be an external catalyst for this?” 

Emily suggests this is just Samskara clearing out. “Be patient, rest a little more, and play a little more. Try to do something fun. And allow yourself to really release it so that when you do go back to practice, you’re just not re-pushing it down in the body-mind. You’re actually letting it dissipate.” 

You may believe your only options are to keep going or quit, but a third option is to rest. 

“It’s why we do Savasna at the end of every yoga practice. We are integrating that practice that we just did so that there’s a chance for things to off-gas and not just stir the pot and do nothing to integrate.” 

“We can’t all just ultramarathon up the mountain and even if you can, you train to do that, it wasn’t just like on Day 1, you ran up the hill.” 

AstroYoga is a lifelong practice with many steps along the way where Samskaras are burned.

Asked how an AstroYoga guide can help you discover that next level, Emily points out that consciousness lives not only in the brain but in and around our whole being. 

“When you work with the body, it’s almost like a life hack.

“You could align the chart by doing a particular path associated with the external world, but that involves a lot of trial and error. When you effect change on the internal plane, which is what we’re doing through the Yogic practice, the Mudra, Mantra meditation, it can be much more powerful, potent, and profound because it involves an exacting awareness. You’re doing something exactly and you’re changing from within.

Similar to the concept of how Biofeedback works, changing your consciousness can change your physical reality as well. 

“You can use these systems for fulfillment on the rudimentary plane, but I think, when we do things with Yoga, and AstroYoga in particular, the focus is on the layers of your own consciousness. So, of course, as you work through the different layers, you do work through deeper and deeper aspects of your being, until you have the complete oneness with the universe, the whole thing that we’re all walking towards eventually.

“From AstroYoga’s perspective, enlightenment is a many-step journey. You have a flash of enlightenment, and from that point on, you are enlightened in that way. And then you have another flash, and it keeps growing so that the consciousness can hold more and more, and you become disidentified with lower aspects of your being, although you recognize them as a piece of you, and identified with higher aspects of our being, which is what I would have been referring to if I said a “self-identified solar star”. 

“The fact of the matter, of course, is that we know, scientifically, they say that the atoms in our bodies are forged in stars.

“All reality is viewed as light and sound vibration, which, at the extremely subtle level, are in a certain sense, one and the same, that they’re both very subtle vibratory mechanisms.” She explains that while the “sun consciousness is often perpetuated by pop culture as ego consciousness, in the school of AstroYoga, the solar consciousness has the capacity to operate as access points to the superconscious of your being.”

A brief history of AstroYoga

The earliest known text describing the practice of AstroYoga is Vendãnga Jyotisha by Lagadha, which dates back to 1350 BCE in India. “Jyotisha”, Emily, explains is a Sanskrit word meaning the “Science of Light” and the book describes the lunisolar system from one winter solstice to the next.  

AstroYoga originated in India, but the practice of Astrology was happening all over the ancient world: Central America, Mayan Aztec calendars, with the first evidence dating back to the 3rd Millenia BCE. 

The Western world has the Venus Tablets of Ammisaduqa, an ancient clay cuneiform tablet also dating back thousands of years—an astrological document from the library of the Assyrian King Ashurbanipal (669–c. 631 BCE) that describes the Babylonian lunar calendar system. It was discovered by archaeologists in the 19th century and later deciphered in 1912. 

“So, there’s a huge history and there’s an application that has ranged from the ancient world to the modern world,” points out Emily. “Many of these systems as it’s currently practiced in the modern-day world have integrated understandings of Astrology and Yoga as they are now practiced.” 

“It’s interesting,” she adds, “because today I can get on the Internet and email someone in India practicing Yoga, and they can email me, and we can have this conversation. There’s a sort of aliveness to the field, pieces of it are very intact from the ancient world, and pieces of it have completely morphed and been applied to what we are today.”

AstroYoga is a wonderful practice both for those carry those ancient traditions through the generations, and for anyone interested in living an embodied life and in the unfoldment of their spiritual practice.

This article was provided by Auric Asana and its founder, Rachel Leghissa, an AstroYoga teacher who studied under Emily Ridout. Please visit Auric Asana to connect with Rachel:

AstroYoga Teacher Training is available on-demand via the International School of AstroYoga:

To learn more about Emily Ridout’s journey with AstroYoga, please visit: