In the Iyengar yoga classes I used to take in London, the new moon week was supposed to be when you emphasize standing poses, like the warrior sequence or triangle and side angle pose. The idea was that you were setting out on a fresh start with energized feet, moving forward with renewed vigor.
For people who garden using the cycles of the moon, this is a good time for planting. Except, of course, on the third week of January in a cold climate.
The new moon in January or February is always the start of the Chinese New Year. This time it's today, on January 23, so Happy Chinese New Year, everyone. Go have some steamed dumplings, and find a festival near you. Soon, February 4, the Year of the Dragon will begin.
The festival lasts for 15 days. I have been in Montreal and in New York when it was celebrated, and I loved the festive red streamers and delicious smells wafting all through Chinatown. Two years ago one of my students went to Paris for it and reported on it vividly in her travel blog.
A few fun facts:
More than a billion people celebrate this holiday--a sixth of the world--and airports will be crowded today. In 2010, about 210 million people traveled, which one site says is "the equivalent to the whole population of Brazil packing their suitcases."
On this day, world records for numbers of texts sent are routinely broken.
With all this auspicious energy out there, today is a very good day for new beginnings: a new lunar year for all.
So it's a marvelous time to bring new moon energy to new endeavors. A good time to plant seeds or plant new ideas. To make a wish. Start a creative project. Make a list. Plan a trip. Go on a first date or go out for coffee with a new potential friend. Begin learning something new.
At the Asian market in Ottawa last month, we stocked up on dumplings without even thinking the holiday was coming. We're having some for lunch with the last of the spicy, cured pork a dear friend gave us for Christmas as part of a delicious food package of French delicacies. We like to mix things up--French and Chinese fusion. Fusion everything--that's my world. Zoe had a good whiff of the meat before I put it away.
I'm excited to start a new meditation class on Thursday evening of this week, and, by the weekend, to begin a new draft of my novel with a fresh, new approach.
But for now, I'm looking forward to the Chinese dumplings at lunch. Almost as much as Zoe will savor sniffing out the last of the pork.
Happy new moon, gentle reader. Happy Monday, and happy Chinese New Year!