“You’re what your deepest need is.
As your need is, so is your intention.
As your intention is, so is your will.
As your will is, so is your deed.
As your deed is, so is your future.”
–The Upanishads

The brand new photo voltaic yr is upon us because the Earth begins her to tilt again towards the Solar, signifying the completion of one other life cycle earlier than the emergence of spring. For hundreds of years the Winter Solstice has been celebrated world wide—acknowledging the shortest day of the yr as a return to mild, a return to innocence; a rebirth alongside the wheel of life as the nice world continues to spin.

This religious homecoming has metamorphosed into what we all know in Western cultures as Christmas on December 25. Lengthy earlier than that, the Pagan competition Saturnalia had marked the beginning of winter, as did the birthday of the “invincible” solar god Sol Invictus throughout the golden age of the Roman Empire. In Historic Egypt, January 6 was first acknowledged as winter’s coming, which was later adopted by Christianity because the Feast of the Epiphany.

In trendy occasions, this solar standstill falls on December 21, coinciding with the beginning of Capricorn season in astrology. Throughout this cycle, we’re invited to realign with our objectives and beliefs as we glance towards the brand new yr forward—regardless of the chaos of the vacation season because the calendar turns. Capricorn is symbolized by the bizarre paradox that’s the Sea Goat, a testomony to the persistent vitality of this bold, but grounded earth signal. Dominated by Saturn, the robust trainer planet recognized all through astrological lore as “Father Karma,” Capricorn reminds us that whereas it’s okay to have lofty goals and grand visions, they need to even be rooted in actuality.

By setting intentions on the Winter Solstice, we are able to make clear them throughout Capricorn season and past. As we lay out the framework for our plans, we’re constructing a path that lights the best way via the darkness of winter and guides us towards our brightest future. By continued refinement of our objectives, a willingness to know that errors shall be made, and that we might have to vary course alongside the best way, intentions are little stepping stones that lead us like a compass towards our highest potential. An intention is the place to begin of a dream; what makes the unconscious acutely aware. It’s the inventive energy that fulfills our coronary heart’s wishes, be it profession or relationships, cash or materials issues, private or religious ascension. In essence, an intention is an epiphany in motion. A-ha!

Very similar to our yoga practices, our intentions are at all times in flux—and are altering from second to second. By the ritual of follow, the intentions we set in movement will inevitably develop into second nature, as previous layers, habits and selves start to fall away on this nice unraveling towards the Self; our truest nature. And like a seed, an intention have to be planted, nourished and given persistence. However an intention can not develop if we cling to it—it have to be launched outwardly to make itself recognized to the universe.

Activate your intentions for the brand new yr by turning inward and awakening your interior hearth; by studying to see within the proverbial darkish. Consider the Winter Solstice because the fourth and ultimate motion of your 2017 life-symphony, and take a look at these six yoga circuits: a sequence of dynamic, core-powered sequences to amplify your follow. Synchronize your breath to motion that’s sturdy and intuitive. Go slowly, and let go of what not serves you so that you could be clear the slate for all that’s coming your method.

SEQ I. Historic Eye Activation

Motion: Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Canine) cut up to excessive lunge variations.

Straighten the entrance leg to carry the arms overhead and look as much as the heavens. Re-bend via the entrance knee and launch arms outwardly to both facet, wanting towards the longer term. Repeat, then attain the again arms up once more and return to excessive lunge. Twist, drawing the navel in towards the backbone. Place the left hand down and attain the best hand up.

Optionally available: Place the best palm behind the neck and lean into it for help, inviting more room to movement into your coronary heart. Deliver your fingers down to border the entrance foot after which step again to Downward Canine cut up earlier than decreasing the foot to modify sides.

SEQ II.  Pyramid Energy

Motion: Parsvottanasana (Pyramid Pose) variations to discover hips and hamstrings with buoyancy.

Flip to a large stance and fold ahead, then cross the left elbow over the best and switch the interior elbows out. Flip the heels flip in and toes out. Root to rise: Bend the knees and preserve a protracted backbone as you look ahead. Floor into the fingertips and balls of the ft, gathering earthly vitality.

Optionally available: Stroll your fingers round to the entrance foot earlier than switching sides, or proceed strolling the fingers all the best way to the left to border the again foot and transfer into the opposite facet.

SEQ III. Phoenix Rising

Motion: Sure Utkatasana (Chair Pose) to Warrior variations.

Sit low and dive ahead, sweeping the fingers behind the sacrum and interlacing the fingers, drawing the heels of the palms nearer collectively. Elevate midway, after which shift weight into the best foot, wrapping the again of the left hand on the proper facet of the waist, fingers nonetheless interlaced.

Root to rise: Deliver the left knee to carry to 90 levels after which step again to a excessive lunge, sustaining the clasping of the fingers on the proper waist. Use the left forearm as a shelf to help the low again for a slight backbend. Elevate tall via the guts, then use the again of the left palm to information the hips to the left and open the arms large into Virabhadrasana II (Warrior II). Attain fingers overhead to Flying Warrior and straighten the legs, then sink to re-bend the entrance knee.

Attain up first after which reverse, lifting via the guts for Viparita Virabhadrasana (Reverse Warrior). Windmill the fingers to shift ahead for supported Virabhadrasana III, fingertips to earth. Backbone is lengthening; core is engaged. Use the breath to herald the knee towards your nostril. Root to rise: Return to face, after which sink again into Utkatasana to organize for the opposite facet.

SEQ IV. Fly Like an Eagle

Motion: Excessive lunge on the best facet, lifting and decreasing, to Garundasana (Eagle Pose).

Eagle wrap arms (left over proper), as you carry and decrease. Stabilize the hips and shift ahead, flying like an eagle. Deliver knee to nostril and root to rise; the left knee lifts to 90 levels.

Slowly descend into Garundasana, wrapping left leg over proper. Unwind and ship the left foot again, holding the guts lifted. Land in excessive lunge and unravel the arms overhead. If at first you don’t succeed, bear in mind: Repetition creates a possibility to strive once more. Swap sides.

SEQ V. Middle of the Cyclone

Motion: Natarajasana (Dancer’s Pose) to Half Moon (Ardha Chandrasana) variations.

Shift weight into the best foot and carry the left knee to 90 levels. Stabilize, after which swing the foot again to reach in Natarajasana; a warrior’s calm amidst the storm. Interact quadriceps of the standing leg to micro-bend the knee. Bend the knee a little bit extra and lean ahead with the guts.

Proceed to elongate the torso and hinge on the waist to decrease the fingertips to the earth. Hold maintain of the left foot or ankle, and rotate the chest upward for Chapasana (Sugarcane Pose). Open to Ardha Chandrasana. Sq. hips to supported Warrior III, activating via the guidelines of all ten fingers because the breath guides the knee again in towards the nostril. Root to rise: Return to a standing place.

Optionally available: Swing the foot again once more and repeat, observing what you’ve realized alongside the best way. You simply may shock your self. Swap sides.

SEQ VI. Open Sesame

Motion: A core-strengthening transition of Downward Canine to Camatkarasana (Wild Factor).

In and out, opening and shutting. In a excessive plank place, float the hips according to the low ribs. Take the pose out of the higher physique and energy it via the stomach wall and into the legs. Discover a slight bend to the knees. Really feel bouncy and boundless. Stack shoulders over wrists and shift weight into the best hand, stacking the hips and spinning of the underside of the decrease proper ribs beneath, lengthening via the crown and getting into Vasisthasana (Facet Plank). Pause, after which step the ball of the left foot again and bend via the leg because the left hand lifts towards the heavens. Embody your interior Rock Star.

Optionally available: Place the left palm behind the neck and lean into it for help as you supply your coronary heart’s needs to the universe. Hold the best shoulder stabilized over the best wrist, and press down into all 4 corners of every palm. Flip over and return to Downward Canine, after which repeat on the opposite facet.

Now relaxation. Open the doorways to interior notion and launch. Reconnect to your reserves and rejuvenate, as you put together to have a good time and hibernate.

Images and video by Beth Kessler

Andrea Rice is a author and yoga trainer. Her work has additionally appeared in The New York Instances, Yoga Journal, NY Yoga + Life, SONIMA, mindbodygreen and different on-line publications. Join with Andrea on InstagramFacebookTwitter, and her website.