A new year and a new you! At least that's the promise of this ritual walnut bath that comes from an ages-old Russian recipe designed to help you get rid of any negative energies of the past and facilitate new beginnings!
To prepare this bath, take six walnuts still in their shells and let them soak overnight. The following day, boil the walnuts in a few cups of spring or distilled water (you can boil them in any type of pan except an aluminum one). As the walnuts boil, go ahead and add more water, if necessary; continue boiling until the walnuts have formed a black liquid, then remove from the heat and allow them to cool.
Now run a bath and add the walnut mixture just before you are ready to get in the water. You will need a timer close at hand because you'll be taking this bath for exactly eight minutes. During that time, submerge yourself fully (including your head) into the bathwater seven times. Each time you submerge yourself, ask your guides, guardians and all universal energies to aid you in cutting all old cords linking you to your past.
There is simply no better way to start this, or any, new year than to wash the old year -- and all its worries! -- down the drain, leaving you with a clean slate!
The top of any New Year is absolutely, positively the single best time to take a stroll down memory lane in order to prepare for a more fabulous future -- as long as that memory lane leads right to your closet! This is the month, according to Feng Shui, that will bring you blessings, boons and tons of opportunities ... as long as you weed out the old in order to ring in the new.
More on that ring in a moment. For now, try to take ten anytime this month and clean out your clothes closet. And the "ten" I'm talking about refers to pulling out ten old, worn, torn, ill-fitting or otherwise unwearable pieces of clothing and/or shoes (or even old purses), and either throwing them away or donating them if they're still in the right condition. By doing this, you'll be creating space in your room -- and your life -- for the new and the wonderful to work its way towards you, as well as creating a good bit of great karma!
Now, once you've created space for special energies to come your way, you might just want to reward yourself with a magical little ring. Some schools of Feng Shui say that wearing a silver ring on the thumb of your left hand will bring loads of lottery winning-style luck! The hook here is that you must start wearing the ring at the tip-top of the brand new year. So once again, we are right in the perfect -- and most fashionable -- flow!
Have a happy, healthy, prosperous and fashion-forward new year!
If, like me, you become a resolutionary soldier at the start of any new year -- and if, like me, getting more serious about adhering to a yoga practice is one of your resolutions -- then you might like to start, like I do, with one of the easiest yoga breathing practices for balancing your body, mind and spirit. Because Ellen likes easy. A lot.
Pranayama yoga teaches a rhythmic breathing technique that can bring balance and functionality to your mind and emotions, all while providing the day-to-day mechanics that will keep your body performing at a top-notch level. This breathing technique also promises an almost instantaneous burst of energy, as well as an immediate sensation of happiness and joy. It's a restorative, rejuvenating exercise allowing access to reserves of energy that can bring you a sense of overall balance. In fact, you'll feel like you went for a ten-mile run and got a good night's sleep, all rolled into one!
You'll perform this breathing technique either sitting upright or resting flat on your back -- you choose. There are four stages:
1 - Inhaling
2 - Holding your breath
3 - Exhaling
4 - Holding your breath again
The length of time you spend on each breath will predict the depth of your positive results. For example, if you breathe for a count of four, then hold for a count of two before repeating the cycle, you will stimulate your glands while also massaging your heart.
So, with my heartfelt gratitude for all you have given me these past three years of writing for you, here is my gift of the different Pranayama yoga breathing sequences, and what they can do for you:
• 2 x 1 x 2 x 1: speeds your respiratory rate and cleans your bloodstream;
• 10 x 5 x 10 x 5: speeds your metabolism -- very stimulating and invigorating;
• 12 x 6 x 12 x 6: clears your mind and brings balance to your mental state;
• 16 x 8 x 16 x 8: the most advanced sequence that will, if mastered, significantly boost your overall state of well-being, while also clearing some of your karmic path.
Good luck, and have a happy and healthy new year!
I can't remember the why or wherefore of this culinary dictate, but all through my growing-up years I was taught that January was the month most associated with rosemary. The fact that I can't remember who taught me this is ironic, since rosemary is also the herb most associated with remembrance!
Later, I also learned from one of my Feng Shui master teachers that a fine cure for women to invoke financial independence is to plant three healthy rosemary plants on any window ledge in the kitchen, and keep them there indefinitely. The teachings continue that if you cook with this rosemary, then you'll make yourself a money magnet! So, each New Year, along with moving 27 things in my house and doing an energy cleanse, I also place three fresh rosemary plants on my kitchen windowsill and wait for the dollars and cents to roll in!
Speaking of scents, using essential oil of rosemary on a regular basis really will help improve a faltering memory. (But I like the idea of using this herb in a great recipe in order to make myself a money magnet!) Just in case wealth and abundance come second to any anti-aging agenda, however, I would be remiss if I didn't remind you that an olden herbal apothecary advises that the smell of rosemary can boost the spirit and the mood, as well as "keep thee youngly."
With that in mind, here's one of my favorite rosemary-infused recipes:
BAKED SQUASH WITH ROSEMARY
1-1/2 to 2-pound butternut squash
2 tablespoons of melted butter
6 sprigs of fresh rosemary (or 1/2 teaspoon, dried)
1/4 cup of apple cider (or apple juice)
6 tablespoons of freshly grated parmesan cheese (shaved parmesan also works)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Cut the butternut squash in half and remove all seeds, then brush each half with melted butter. In a large baking pan with sides, place each squash half, cut side down, on top of 3 sprigs of fresh rosemary (or 1/4 teaspoon of dried rosemary). Pour in apple cider (or apple juice) and add water to 1/4 inch up the side of the pan. Bake in oven for 45 minutes. Turn squash over and sprinkle with 4 tablespoons of parmesan cheese. Bake for an additional 15 minutes, or until tender. Spoon the squash out of their shells and lightly fill a serving dish. Add the remaining cheese on top, and add sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
So now that I'm embarking on my fourth year of writing Feng Shui tips, I think we can safely start to explore some of the more, ahem, powerful Feng Shui cures -- and we can begin that effort with this month's travel agenda! Whether traveling by plane, train or automobile, consider this your passport to an easy and obstacle-free trip. In fact this good luck travel cure offers protection, prosperity and, of course, good luck on your journey ... so much so that you might not want to reach your destination too quickly!
For this cure, you'll need a piece of red fabric or cloth approximately six feet long by three feet wide. Lay this long piece of red cloth across the threshold of your front door just before you're ready to embark upon your trip; three feet of this cloth should stay inside, while the other three should extend outside.
Now, take any suitcase you're planning to travel with and walk along the red cloth and out the door. Walk slowly, and with focused discipline and intention, recite the Six True Words mantra: "Om Mani Padme Hum." Be sure to recite this at least nine times. As you walk and talk (don't worry about the chewing gum part), hold the middle and ring fingers of both hands out from your palms. Called the Expelling Mudra, this hand gesture helps to dispel any obstacles you may encounter along your way. While walking and talking and expelling, visualize a safe departure filled with ease and grace. Literally "see" your trip as filled with happiness, abundance and prosperity; in the same way, envision your safe return back to this space.
Now, fold up the cloth, pack it and take it with you on your trip -- your own personal red carpet, without any step-and-repeat nonsense attached! Before returning home, follow this same procedure again by draping the carpet over the doorway of your hotel room (or wherever you're staying). Perform all the exercises listed above in the same order, then grab your cloth and get on home! Peace and prosperity are waiting for you!
New Year, new ... luck! At least that's the promise associated with Feng Shui's "Red Egg Rebirth." In fact, this Shui cure is considered one of the more potent Chi cures, always striving to expel bad luck and replace it with health, happiness and prosperity! Many Feng Shui masters claim this adjustment is particularly effective when performed on a significant day of the year -- like New Year's Day -- although of course you can try it whenever you feel the need to rid yourself of misfortune, worry and/or stress.
Now, because this is Red Egg Rebirth, the first step is to get yourself a carton of eggs. (But, Feng Shui says that you mustn't let anyone see these eggs after you've purchased them -- they need to be aligned with your Chi and energy only.) During the hours of 11-1 (AM or PM), boil one egg. While intoning Feng Shui's lucky mantra -- "om mani padme hum" -- at least nine times over the egg, visualize your bad luck drifting away and taking all negativity with it.
Once the egg is hard-boiled, in the palm of your hand mix one teaspoon of any red spice -- Red Egg Rebirth's traditional recipe calls for cinnabar, but in the likely event you're unable to find it, substitute paprika instead -- with strong dark rum, adding as many drops as years you are old, plus one. (So if you're 34, add 35 drops.) Mix the rum and spice with the middle finger of your opposite hand only.
Next, roll the hard boiled egg in that same palm before placing it on a white napkin. Rub your palms together so they're both dry and rusty-red. As you do this, maintain your vision of seeing all bad juju leaving your life so that only great luck remains. Carry the egg outdoors and crack it lightly so you can gingerly begin to peel off the rest of its shell. Try your best to keep all the shell pieces either on that same napkin or even in a small paper bag ... but whatever you do, try to not drop any pieces! Visualize that this egg is now higher than standard table height and that, symbolizing yourself, it has shed its shell the way a snake sheds its skin. Once the egg is completely shelled, imagine a new shell forming, enabling you to return once again to your original and pure self -- a rebirth on many different levels.
Holding the egg, eat part of the yolk and part of the white; if you prefer, you can go ahead and eat the entire egg! If you don't down the whole thing, toss the rest of the egg -- but not the shell pieces! -- into all four directions while once again imagining that you are expelling bad luck. Keep the shells in the small paper bag and dispose of them anywhere outside your living space.
According to Feng Shui, you have now been reborn and your life is a clean slate. Now, that's a happy way to begin any new year!