How to Start Your New Year Today on Winter Solstice Erik Hale December 20, 2020 Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on PinterestShare on RedditShare on LinkedInShare on InstagramShare on YouTubeShare on EmailShare on WhatsAppWritten By: Erik Hale and Jessie Svec Photography Provided By: Estancia in La Jolla & Saffron and Sage, December 21 is the beginning of Winter Solstice, contains both the shortest day and longest night of the year in the Northern Hemisphere and when the North Pole is at its furthest point from the sun. For the first time since March 1226 AD, Saturn and Jupiter are in conjunction in the sky. While this happens every 20 years, not all are created equal. This year’s conjunction will be the closest since 1623 and the closest observable since 1226. This monumental meeting will be visible to the naked eye in just a few days and appear as one larger-than-life planet. Jupiter is known for its larger-than-life energy. Associated with luck and fortune, it inspires us to practice a heightened sense of optimism, take big risks and to have fun. Saturn, on the other hand, has an entirely different approach. This famously ringed planet is notoriously restrictive. It is rigid, cold, uncompromising and is (quite fittingly) associated with maturity, responsibilities and long-term lessons. As these two mega planets come into alignment, maybe we do as well. We hope this guide allows you to tap into the conjunction of both signs’ best qualities by using this day to reset, repair, and reimagine the possibilities for you in the coming year. We were lucky enough to attend a Winter Solstice workshop evening at Estancia in La Jolla Hotel & Spa hosted by Saffron & Sage, a holistic health club in San Diego. Here is some of what we learned from our host Jessie Svec, a yoga and breath-work practitioner, along with some of our own advice. 1 | Have Some Tea and Wake Up Your Chi Wake up early today but wake up slowly. Today is a short day, and we need to make the most of each wonderful minute, but let’s not rush it. Begin your day with a big stretch, a cup of green tea, and then follow along to this video to wake up your life energy or chi. 2 | Make a Happy Place The first happy place should be your mind. The second happy place should be a physical space, indoors or outside, that feels safe and secure. Once you have identified your space, make it your own. Decorate with candles, plants, blankets and pillows. Put up photos of what makes you happy and objects that bring you joy. Burn some incense or sage to cleanse the space, light a candle and enjoy. We were lucky enough to perform this practice on the beautiful grounds of Estancia in La Jolla Hotel & Spa. 3 | Just Breathe You can last 40 days without food, three days without water, but how long without breathing? Let’s not try and find out. How much of your time is focused on food, and how much on your breath? If you are like me, you think about food for about 50% of your day. Today, let’s focus on our breath for 10 minutes. Here is a simple meditation that Svec from Saffron & Sage recommends. A Simple Breath Practice: 5 Minutes of Conscious, Connected Breathing Find a comfortable seat on the ground. Feel your sit bones connect with the ground; soften at your hips. Guide your shoulders back to stack over your hips, ear tips back over your shoulders, then lift through the crown of your head. Place one hand on your belly and one hand on your heart. Soften the muscles of your throat; let your jaw slightly open. Start to breathe in and out through your mouth. Fill your belly first, and let your button hand rise. Let it travel through your solar plexus (right under your breastbone) and all the way up to your chest, feeling your heart expand and your top hand lift. Then, softly, like a sigh, let your breath go. Continue breathing in a loop (belly, solar plexus, heart, exhale), focusing on your inhale (your ability to receive) and a soft, effortless exhale (your ability to let go). Continue your breath like a wave without any pause at the top or bottom. Focus on the circle, filling your body with your life force, feeding it the vital oxygen it needs to function at its optimal state. Spend just five minutes with yourself, focusing on your breath. Let that be the five minutes you dedicate to filling up your own cup, making space for all the light, love and joy, clearing the chaos, and releasing whatever is ready to leave very simply with your breath. 4 | Make a List, Check It Twice Much like Santa, you should also be making two lists this year. Make a list of the things that you didn’t like this year. It might be really long in 2020, but get it out. Make a second list of how you see 2021 being for you. Use all positive words for this list. Example: “I am healthy” or “I am prosperous” or “I am content.” Jessie gave us this example: Work, family, me. Identify something you want from each of those areas, formed in the positive with the energy of ‘towards’ rather than ‘away.’ Rather than saying, “I want to be less stressed and overwhelmed by work,” say, “My work will be balanced, invigorating and collaborative. I will have healthy boundaries that allow for success and growth.” 5 | Light It Up Light a candle and stare at the flames. Watch their movement. When you are ready (make sure you are outside or have a safe way to extinguish), burn your little note about the bad stuff from this year. Blow out the candle. Read your list of mantras and manifestations for 2021 from the good Liat. Light the candle again, symbolizing a fresh start. 6| Take a Bath Jessie told us that “sound therapy is based on the concept that everything in the universe, including our bodies, is in a constant state of vibration. By sending sound waves through the body, you can align mind, body and spirit and raise your vibrational frequency.” Lay down and listen to this sound bath video from Saffron & Sage with your headphones. The frequencies are healing and soothing. Repeat your positive mantras in your head while listening. Again, focus on your breathing. 7 | Bend, Don’t break This is the mantra for 2020. Many of us have been at a breaking point all year. Yoga is a physical practice that can get us ready for the mental practice of meditation and manifestation. We recommend this simple exercise for beginners. 8| Make a Wish Come True Everyone is talking about the power of manifestation this year. At Estancia in La Jolla Hotel & Spa, they have created a wish tree where you can write down your wish for the new year and tie it in the tree for the winds of the universe to read. You can create your own in a tree, bush, houseplant or if you celebrate Christmas, in the tree. More upcoming events by Saffron & Sage at Estancia in La Jolla TRANSFORM, the next Saffron & Sage and Estancia series: Join Saffron & Sage and Estancia La Jolla for a transformative series of self discovery. Journey into your mind, body and spirit with a supportive community to truly dive deep into the essence of your being to discover your truest and most authentic self. MIND | Cultivate an awareness of the emotional body, beliefs and values while learning key tools and strategies to discover your true self. BODY | Embrace your own physical acceptance of your body to look and feel the best, while truly becoming comfortable in the skin you are in. SPIRIT | Develop an awareness of the energetic body to honor the sacred self. The series begins January 26 – February 19. It includes: 4 workshops led by Dr. Hilda Gonzalez PRACTICING MINDFULNESS & EMBRACING DESIRES MASTER TRANSFORMATIVE RITUALS DISCOVER THE ART OF EATING WELL SUSTAIN WITH SEASONAL LIVING Group outdoor experiences led by Saffron & Sage‘s team of Holistic Practitioners NEW MOON CEREMONY YOGA & BREATHWORK NIDRA MEDITATION & SOUND BATH ENERGY CLEARING CEREMONY Tickets will go on sale 12/21 and can be found here.