Spring Equinox: 5 Rituals for a Fresh Start
The Spring, or Vernal Equinox, occurs in the Northern Hemisphere on March 20 this year (2017.) Marking the end of winter, the equinox is indicated by the equal length of day and night all over the world. Trees and plants begin new cycles of growth. Butterflies emerge. Birds remember their songs. People leave scarves and winter coats at home in exchange for cardigans and brighter colors.
The beginning of spring can ignite a desire for renewal and new beginnings. Consider greeting spring with some rituals to welcome change, growth, revitalization, and renewal for yourself. Rituals—those symbolic behaviors you perform before, during, and after a meaningful event—can help mark the beginning of a fresh start or new direction.
Although there is an extraordinary array of specific traditions, rituals exist in all cultures and traditions throughout the world. Rituals can intentionally and effectively impact feelings, thoughts, and behaviors. They are often used to mark the passage of time or commemorate an ending or a beginning.
Consider trying the following rituals to welcome Spring on or near the equinox:
Practice 108 Sun Salutations
It’s a tradition to move through 108 sun salutations to mark the changing of the seasons. Although the origins of 108 are somewhat mysterious, the number has significance in several spiritual traditions. The number and the ritual of sun salutation have an auspicious meaning for many yogis. The movement through the sun salutations, whichever variation you prefer, takes on a meditative quality as you flow through the same movements again and again.
This many sun salutations can be quite a lot, even if you practice asana regularly. Perhaps there’s a number that resonates better with you for this time of year:
- Your age?
- The date?
- A number that’s been lucky for you?
Or skip the physicality, and enjoy a similarly meditative ritual. Malas, the necklaces used for meditation and decoration, often have 108 beads. An alternative to moving through the asanas is to repeat a positive mantra as you roll your fingers over each bead. This can also be a nice ritual to acknowledge any big life event or whenever you need a personal reset.
- Decide if you’ll practice solo or with a supportive group.
- Set aside an hour and a half to two hours to practice.
- Use something tangible to keep track of salutations: pebbles, shells, or beads,
- Modify the asanas to prevent injury as your body fatigues.
- Rest at a previously decided upon number.
- Put on some catchy tunes.
- Prepare to be sore the next day.
Plant Some Seeds
What you plant grows: if you plant apple seeds, don’t expect to get oranges. The same goes for intentions and mindset: if you’re always planting negative seeds such as “I probably won’t get the job” or “I’m not good enough,” how can you expect positivity and abundance to sprout up in your life? Plant what you hope to see blossom. You can use plants as a physical reminder of your journey.