Emily Ridout of AstroYoga: “Pay attention to your breath”

Get support! Humans are social beings, and there is no way any one of us can experience true wellbeing without the support of others. Whether you work with a professional or simply draw into close relationships with friends or family, you are going to need support. Find a way to get support that works for […]

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Get support! Humans are social beings, and there is no way any one of us can experience true wellbeing without the support of others. Whether you work with a professional or simply draw into close relationships with friends or family, you are going to need support. Find a way to get support that works for you. Does sharing your journey with a friend help? Or do you prefer seeing a therapist, astrologer, or coach? Perhaps an online group or yoga class works for you. Try different things, and create a strong system of support that you can lean on when times are difficult.

As a part of my series about the women in wellness, I had the pleasure of interviewing Emily Ridout.

Emily Ridout is a professional AstroYoga specialist who has cultivated her AstroYoga techniques for over a decade and instructs classes, workshops, teacher trainings, and private sessions.

Ridout teaches her clients and students how to understand the astrology of their physical and energetic bodies in a way that radically empowers them to heal trauma, align with their truest desires, and create optimum mental/physical wellbeing.

Ridout holds an M.A. and B.A. in Folklore as well as three yoga diplomas. She offers continuing education in AstroYoga for yoga teachers working on advanced certification.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” better. Can you share your “backstory” with us?

Sure! I’ve always been interested in traditional and esoteric schools of knowledge. Throughout my youth, and for well over a decade in my adult life, I studied the ancient disciplines of yoga and astrology as they interact with people’s physical and energetic bodies.

Eventually, I found myself working in this field professionally, although it was certainly a long road to that point. Before I stepped into my role as an Astrologer and AstroYoga specialist, I worked at a music conservatory, an outdoor school, a folklife agency, and several cultural organizations.

With my background in folklore, the mystery schools, and the arts, I wound up meeting all sorts of people, and I cherish each step I took along the way.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career? What were the main lessons or takeaways from that story?

When I first started my business, I was concerned about going public with my services. I realized that AstroYoga was an esoteric field, and one traditionally practiced in relative secret throughout history. I was concerned that people I’d worked with in the past would see what I was doing and not understand its great benefit, instead projecting a superficial, pop cultural knowledge of astrology on the deep work that I was doing.

Despite this fear, I couldn’t resist the call to help as many people as possible, and I was so surprised that when I went public, I received a truly massive amount of messages of support from all around me. People whom I would have assumed weren’t interested in exploring these topics were reaching out and telling me they’d been searching for this for years, sometimes decades.

My key takeaway from this experience is that the distinct gift each person has to offer is not only worth sharing, but sometimes it’s that gift that others are craving. Offering the depth of your being is one of the best things you can do, both for yourself and for those around you.

Can you share a story about the biggest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

I have an academic as well as practical background, and my biggest mistake when I first started was expressing things academically! That made the juicy, amazing things I do seem too long-winded and complex.

Now, I recognize that in order to serve others, you have to meet them where they are. I am a translator of an ancient, complex, and esoteric subject, and that means I must translate it so it can be understood. When I realized this early on, I became a much better astrologer and yoga teacher. I still maintain the richness, but I bring it to people in a palatable way.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

There are so many people who helped me along the way, and I can think of many stories about each of them. One person I’m deeply grateful for is my grandmother, D.J. Ramp. Even though she’s left her physical body, the lessons she taught me in our 30 years together have stayed with me, and I try to pass on the kindnesses she gave to me to everyone I work with.

She taught me that the key to wellness is inside each of us, and she encouraged me to seek my own wellbeing, which in turn gave me the strength and drive to help others. She also taught me that it’s fine to do nice things for yourself while serving others and that your choices must ultimately be yours.

Ok perfect. Now let’s jump to our main focus. When it comes to health and wellness, how is the work you are doing helping to make a bigger impact in the world?

For so long, it seems like wellness has been equated to an isolated area of life or some illusive quality that people constantly chase, but never quite achieve. The work I do is to position wellness as your natural state of being. The impact I’d like to make on those I encounter is to offer them the perspective that they already have what they need within.

Yoga and cosmology teach that the seeds of your greatest life, your wisest mind, and your most potent joy all live inside you. It is each person’s task in this life to remember these inner seeds and to help them grow. And it’s my work to help people on their journeys to helping their inner seeds sprout.

Can you share your top five “lifestyle tweaks” that you believe will help support people’s journey towards better wellbeing? Please give an example or story for each.

  1. Pay attention to your breath. Your breath is an indicator of how well your inner and outer worlds are connecting. Not only does it physically move in and out of your body, it is also tied to your mental and emotional status. The more aware you are of your breath, the easier it will be to recognize how your wellbeing is operating in a given moment.
  2. Pay attention to you emotions. I come from a long line of stoic Midwesterners, so I can definitely understand the temptation to brush things aside in order to appear fine. While a given situation may call for you to express your emotions calmly or at a later time, recognizing your emotional state moment by moment will allow you to both build self-compassion and recognize when you might need to step away in order to process your own ‘stuff’ before projecting your emotion onto whatever situation you’re in. In this way, you can also share your emotions with those around you to communicate in an honest way that builds deeper connections. I work with my several of my clients on this using the cycles of the moon. As the moon cycles, we track the felt emotions using astrology as a tool. The more awareness is brought to the emotional nature of the person, the more they feel able to handle situations that before might have seemed frustrating, antagonistic, or overwhelming.
  3. Tune out the ‘noise’. Because of modern technology, we are able to access and receive more information in a single day than a person 100 years ago would have received in a lifetime. That is a huge deal. No wonder so many of us find it difficult to listen to our inner states when the outer world is blasting us from every angle! While I’m not advocating complete avoidance, I do recommend that you choose specific times to tune out input that isn’t coming from within. Taking a break from social media, the news, email, your phone, and your well-meaning friends and family can be key to offering yourself time to hear your inner self.
  4. Acknowledge reality in every moment. It’s so easy to live in a fantasy world, especially if things aren’t quite how you wish they were. Your worldview does a lot to inform and shape your perception of reality in any given moment. Take the time to acknowledge the unbiased truth of any situation. What can you smell, hear, taste, touch, or see? If you had no prior conceptions of others, what would you notice or think about them? What would you noise or think about yourself? Doing a practice like this can be helpful for building self empathy and empathy for others. It can also lead you to some amazing conclusions about the world that can be a huge source of inspiration! I personally use this process to feel into relationships with those whose opinions differ strongly from my own.
  5. Get support! Humans are social beings, and there is no way any one of us can experience true wellbeing without the support of others. Whether you work with a professional or simply draw into close relationships with friends or family, you are going to need support. Find a way to get support that works for you. Does sharing your journey with a friend help? Or do you prefer seeing a therapist, astrologer, or coach? Perhaps an online group or yoga class works for you. Try different things, and create a strong system of support that you can lean on when times are difficult.

If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of wellness to the most amount of people, what would that be?

If I could start a single movement for wellness it would be to reframe wellness so that it is measured by how much inner awareness a person can generate.

So often in the modern world we measure wellness and success by external means: whether a person appears happy, fulfilled, and healthy. There are thousands of examples of why this isn’t the case. Of course, it’s wonderful when external appearances match inner awareness, but the goal should always be to cultivate wellbeing from within.

If everyone stopped for a moment and listened deeply within, what would happen? Forgotten dreams might be remembered; suppressed emotions and memories might drift to the surface to be processed; coping mechanisms might be recognized for the crutches they are; people might heal.

The greater inner awareness you have in any moment, the more you can recognize whether your behavior is actually serving your values and your life force. Those behaviors we do to avoid pain could be eradicated, and each person could recognize and create health and wellbeing that truly aligns with their inner state.

What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?

Top 5 Things I wish Someone Told Me Before I Started Practicing Yoga and Astrology:

  1. Yoga and Astrology are deeply intertwined. The first time I heard someone bring up AstroYoga, the field I now work in, I couldn’t believe it! I had been practicing yoga for years, and it wasn’t until I began a deep philosophical study of it that I was trained to understand what it is and how to use it. I wish someone had told me that the natural rhythms of astrology were so much more than horoscopes — indeed they can help you navigate your physical and energetic practices with radical ease and amazing results!
  2. Astrology is an energetic map, and yoga is the vehicle you use to navigate it. Your astrology chart is so much more than an interesting personality assessment! It actually shows how energy flows within you, as well as the types of things you can do to move that energy beneficially. The huge number of yogic physical and subtle body practices written into astrology can help with that. At some point in your yoga journey, practicing these two sister sciences together becomes essential.
  3. Astrology is a tool of free will. Astrology shows you a set of tools that you have to work with in any given moment. How you use those tools is up to you. Rather than writing your destiny, astrology offers you a map that shows you how you might either succeed or fail. The outcome of your journey is in your hands.
  4. There are no ‘bad transits’. So often I used to hear people saying to beware of this or that in astrology. That is simply not the case! Of course bad things do happen in life, but the transits themselves simply offer you ways of viewing and working with energies of love in your life. On a deeply esoteric level, no transit is bad, but rather how we experience and process our lives makes it so.
  5. Your chart contains advice. As a youth, I spent so much time wondering what sort of life would be right for me. I’d look at the lives of my role models, and always felt like I was looking at their lives, not my own (which of course I was!). It wasn’t until later in life when I became an adept astrologer that I learned how to read the personal advice written in a chart for any given situation. This tool for personal advice has been the key to unlocking so many mysteries in my life’s journey so far.

Sustainability, veganism, mental health and environmental changes are big topics at the moment. Which one of these causes is dearest to you, and why?

So much of the work I do is linked to the mental health/environment connection. Of the areas you mentioned, I would start with mental health every time. I deeply believe that if every individual takes deep, loving, steady care of themself, all of the issues swirling around us in the environmental/wellness fields would cease.

When you’re deeply in tune with yourself, you begin to experience greater wholeness and wellbeing in body, mind, and spirit. As you do this, your relationship to the environment will shift. This will happen without effort on your part.

When you feel fully well, you simply will want to act in harmony with nature. It’s a deeply written and often forgotten truth of human wellness. A truly healthy human always seeks to minimize harm in the world.

I believe in starting with the individual first, because self-motivation is the only way to do something whole-heartedly that can be sustained over time.

What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?

I send out a free Weekly AstroYoga Forecast via email, and I’m also on Instagram @emily_ridout_astroyoga; Facebook @EmilyRidoutYoga; and YouTube under Emily Ridout AstroYoga. I’d love to connect with anyone reading this article!

Thank you for these fantastic insights!

It was my pleasure. Thank you for interviewing me!

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