Happy Chinese New Year of the Wooden Horse

Posted by on Jan 31, 2014 in Wellness Blog | 0 comments

Happy Year of the Yang Wood Horse!

According to the Ten Thousand Year Chinese Almanac, today is the beginning of
the 15 day period (Qi Node) called LiChun (“Spring Begins”). The day also marks the official
transition from the Yin Water Snake into the new animal of the year: Yang Wood Horse.

The native element of the Horse Branch is Fire, and the corresponding Stem for
this year is Jia (Yang Wood). Think of a young horse, a colt; full of inspiration and vitality,
but lacking in experience and training. The freshness is pure and beautiful,
but it has little depth. Freshness is fresh because it only lasts a short
while. A whole year of freshness could easily lead to a thousand unfinished
projects and serious exhaustion.

The horse has a unique spirit, it rides the line between wild and domesticated.
During a year like this, it will be quite easy to get overly excited,
especially this spring. It is wise to practice gentle restraint. Don’t attempt
to “break the horse” with austere control,  this is far too
aggressive. With sensitivity and persistence, train body and mind to steer
toward wholesomeness.

In the Five Elements creation cycle, the interaction of Wood and Fire produces
Earth. A surplus of Wood and Fire makes an abundance of ash (Earth), that can
clog the stove. For our internal cultivation practice, the lower belly is the
stove (cauldron);  keeping it warm, but not too hot, and free of
obstructions is key. In other words, watch your digestion and elimination. Be
extra careful not to over eat or partake of food or drink that you know
disrupts your digestive system. This year is less forgiving of misconduct
related to food and digestive health than other years.

Since many areas of the world did not get their normal precipitation this
winter, it is predicted that the spring will bring unusual dampness.
Environmental dampness can adversely affect the spleen, causing stagnation of
body and mind. Again, be care-full with digestion; eat what you know works for
you. Forget fad diets–raw, vegan, paleo–and let natural appetite and somatic
intelligence guide you.

As always, we turn to our self-cultivation to understand how to harmonize with
the changing patterns of nature. A daily practice of yoga, qigong and
meditation is the time-tested way. Gentle exercise that targets the internal
organs and stimulates the smooth circulation of blood and vital force is
preferred. Vigorous exercise that over uses the musculoskeletal system feels great
in the short run, but it disperses energy and omits the most essential parts:
organs, glands, nerves, vessels.