The Year of the Rat

Oriental medicine is teeming with On Saturday, January 25th we enter into the Year of the Rat in the Chinese horoscope. The Rat is the first sign from the 12 animal cycle in Chinese Astrology, and for this reason, 2020 is considered a year of new beginnings and renewals. The Year of the Rat promises to bring creative energy and the fortitude to manifest the things you desire in your life! for self care, which I want to share with you, so you can feel empowered to take control of your body, mind and spirit!

Whether you enjoy western or Chinese astrological forecasts the validation can be inspiring for tackling the habits or aspects of your life that you would like to improve or change. Perhaps you’ve made New Year’s resolutions which involve weight loss, fitness goals, improving your relationships, changing your eating habits, wanting to get more organized, earning more money, etc. Despite earnest desires and intentions to tackle resolutions, most attempts fizzle out with time because our habits are deeply entrenched in our brains and programing. Therefore, I encourage you to train your brain as a starting point to mastery of all you desire.

Just as regular sports or exercise create a strong and well- functioning body, meditation is the key to cultivating a healthy, flexible and disciplined mind. We know that exercise is crucial to our well-being, yet most people don’t recognize that the mind needs maintenance too. Meditation basically rewires your brain for calm, happiness, and success. In these times of rampant stress, anxiety and depression, meditation is a scientifically and experientially proven powerful tool toward achieving your goals and a better life.

Need more convincing? Studies show that regular meditation reduces stress, controls anxiety, promotes emotional health, enhances self-awareness, lengthens attention span, improves memory, generates kindness, helps fight addictions, improves relationships, improves cardiovascular health, boosts the immune system, enhances the ability to make decisions, and reduces physical and emotional pain. 

How to begin? There are many ways to meditate, and there are countless meditation apps, videos and tutorials on line. These may be fun for you to explore but I recommend keeping it simple for starters. Allocate a specific time for your meditation practice so that it can become habitual: perhaps first thing in the morning, right after work, or just before bed. Next, find a private location where you can meditate without interruptions.

Once you have designated your time and place, the rest is simple. Begin with 15 minute sessions. Set a timer, sit comfortably and upright on a chair or cushion, close your eyes, relax your shoulders and simply breath. Focus your mind on your breath and the relaxation of any muscle tension in your body. Your mind will wander. It is normal. Each time it wanders bring your focus back to your breath. It’s the commitment of consistently returning your attention from your distracted mind back to your breath that is the important part. You are training your brain, one thought at a time, to work for you rather than against you. This is powerful work.

You may feel refreshed and peaceful after your meditation session or not. It’s all fine. Just stick with it. Regular practice, cumulatively, will change your life.

I wish you the serenity and presence of mind to achieve your dreams and goals in 2020 and the auspicious Year of the Rat! And remember to include the supportive, balancing, and healing powers of acupuncture to further enhance your physical and mental health in the coming year! Call or text to book a session today!

Sincerely, Livia Hall, L.Ac.