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We have finished the celebrations of Christmas and New year now but the Year of the Horse does not start until January 30th on a new moon. As we are still in the energy field of the Water Snake year, we need to be aware that this last month offers perfect time for cleansing, releasing, healing and renewing. We want to leave all that doesn’t serve us anymore behind in the Snake’s deep dark waters and get ready for new awakening, new inspiration, new luck that the Horse year is about to bring! Let’s use the remaining time wisely and shed some more old skins!

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Are you ready for 2014?

It’s time to summarize the year 2013 as we have only a few days till new 2014 starts. Here are some questions I’ve been asking myself:

What important lessons have I learned?

What are my happiest moments in 2013? What made me feel joyous and content?

What and who am I grateful for?

I love finishing on a high note remembering the most valuable memories and most beautiful pictures of the year.

And then it’s time to plan for 2014!

If my life of the coming year is to be described in the newspapers, what would I love to see as the headlines?

What is most important quality I’d like to develop in the coming year?

Depending on my answers I’ll be formulating my new sankalpa. I feel like the one that I worked with in 2013 have come to life! So it’s time to channel my energy into a new area of my mind and soul.
(For info on yogic way of creating a new year resolution please read https://zoyalu.wordpress.com/2011/12/27/7-yogic-secrets-to-get-your-new-years-resolutions-come-true-part-1/ )

How do you finish your 2013? What are your thoughts? Do you have a tradition for closure and new beginning?

Let me take this opportunity to wish you a Happy Holiday season and to send you some blessings!

Lovingly,
Zoya

Happy solstice!

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How are you feeling as we approach the darkest night of the year? It’s been cold and raining pretty much non-stop here in Taipei for more than a week now. A perfect weather for looking inward and feeling the sensations of the inner darker world…
I believe that to be well we need to be in touch with our inner flow which is always influenced by Nature cycles (the theory of microcosm and macrocosm, anyone?). We are taught to resist the darkness, to deny our needs and to put on a happy face especially during this time right now as we approach Christmas. It always makes me think: why in our society, the darkest time that we need to rejuvenate and replenish ourselves is used for one of the merriest celebrations of the year? Whatever the reason is, it makes sense to get in touch with Nature and our inner self, and find more time for silence, rest and healing.
Instead of pushing through with a smile on your face, look into your inner darkness, be quiet and aware to recognize what is needed, and try to act upon these needs. Give yourself the present of staying in tune with Nature, and Nature will give you the present of keeping well.
Happy Solstice!

Merry Christmas, or Do you feel nurtured this Holiday Season?

Tomorrow (Dec 22nd) is the winter solstice! Here comes the longest night of the year! That’s the time when we must be most introspective and allow plenty of rest to the body and mind. And what do we find in reality? Paradoxically, these days can be the most hectic and least peaceful time of the year…

How are YOU feeling this holiday season? Are you excited by all these gatherings with family and friends, and feel satisfied and content with your holidays? Or do you feel overwhelmed by trying to please your loved ones and to manage all this shopping, decorating, mailing, baking, travelling… (You name it!)?Why don’t we take a break to feel? Yes, to really FEEL. Right now. Let’s just find 5 minutes to simply switch from thinking to feeling. Start by paying attention to your breath: how do I breathe at the moment? Is my breath deep or shallow? Slow or fast? Smooth or harsh? Now try to notice what is happening inside of your body: do I feel relaxed or tensed? Which parts of the body carry the tension? And lastly – what’s happening inside of my heart: what emotions are prevailing at the moment – peace, contentment, joy or frustration, irritation,sadness?If you are satisfied with your answers, carry on with whatever you do! Your holiday is a happy one and your body and mind are in tune! However, the majority of us might find ourselves ungrounded, stressed and far from being peaceful (and that’s when we are «expected» to be most joyful!).

So what can we do? There is no other way but to respect the Nature and our body-mind system, and try to slow down.  We can attend only the MOST important activities reminding ourselves that before we can honour others, we must first honour ourselves.  We can look for ways to save ourselves time and effort, maybe buying our holiday pies from the local bakery rather than baking them or simply asking others to help us? It’s essential to get plenty of sleep, and eat well. Don’t attempt trying every food you’ll be offered!

For me personally, my saviour is my commitment to yoga. I think maintaining my yoga practice is essential to get the best from my holidays.  I felt so good this morning after just a short asana practice! (Cutting the time in half is better than skipping it altogether). And practicing sitting meditation is my sanctuary from all holiday pressures.

Winter solstice energy applies to all life and all beings, and whether we like it or not it effects us too! Honor the energy of the Mother Earth and spend today and tomorrow as quiet as possible, in self-reflection, going within your self and cultivating feminine, passive energy of Yin or Tha.It could be any type of exercise program or energy practice for you, but if you do hatha yoga consider including more contemplative postures, like forward bends and long-held Yin-style asanas (click on the words to get an example). These poses reverse the frenetic stress that builds up around the holidays. And don’t forget some digestion-aiding asanas. Add more twists into your practice—they’re a good counterbalance to indulgence in food and drink!

If we stay tuned into Nature we’ll feel nurtured and maintain balance. And that can help us to enjoy the season’s indulgences even more and recover from them more quickly:)) hopefully, we’ll stay mindful enough not to indulge, and manage to enjoy everything in moderation:)).

If you are on a yoga (or any other spiritual) path, the holiday times is a test on just how well you have learned and embodied our yoga practice. Remember that yoga is a way of life. If it is to be truly useful, yoga should be available to us anytime anywhere.

I’d like to wish you all the holidays full of joy, love and happiness.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Lovingly,

Zoya

www.zoyayoga.com

21st of Dec, 2011