Happy (Lunar) New Year!

Ritual (is) something that human beings need.

I latched onto this the second I heard it. Roshi Joan Halifax and Kristi Tippet were discussing wisdom in Zen teachings. The resonance was felt deep in my body, but as I sat down to expand upon the importance of ritual, I struggled to put any words to this truth. As I stared at my blank page minute after minute, I grew restless and finally typed “why is ritual important” into my search engine and found common themes in the threads I followed.

ritual elevates the mundane

ritual reminds us of what matters

ritual connects us to the sacred and divine

ritual gathers us together

ritual moves us through transitions

ritual gives meaning and purpose to life

ritual shifts our perspective and in turn our reality

One ritual I’ve adopted over the last half decade is an observance of the lunar cycle and by extension, the Lunar New Year. I appreciate the yin energy this rhythm infuses into my life. Our culture’s obsession with yang (solar, masculine, aggressive energy) leaves me over stimulated, exhausted and on edge. The moon invites us to stillness, in opposition to the sun’s call to action. This invitation to cease our constant striving and push for continual forward momentum floods my body with relief. Just like Roshi Halifax, I believe in “tasting stillness and knowing it is medicine."

In case you missed it, last Friday was the start of the Lunar year. For me, this is a chance to revisit any resolutions or intentions I set on January 1st. I find the space between then and now gives me time to test out my plans for the year ahead and make adjustments. When the Lunar New Year arrives, I am ready to commit to something that I’ve tested and adapted to fit the unique circumstances of my life right now. You can read more about my journey this year over on my blog.

To celebrate the moon and this new beginning, I’m hosting a workshop at the Riveter this Saturday to share some of the rituals of my lunar practice with our community. This session is designed to help you pause in the midst of life’s busyness, access your intuitive self and set, or revisit, intentions for the year ahead. We’ll explore how tuning our rhythms to the moon (associated with feminine, creative and cool qualities) can bring balance to our overloaded lives. Using the Moon Angels card deck to guide our practice, I will lead a yoga class based on Chandra Namaskar (moon salutes) and Chandra Bhedana (moon piercing breath) to stimulate the lunar channel in our bodies. Following our movement and meditation practice, Ritual Coach Emily Mitchell will be on hand for mini-ritual sessions with attendees to create custom infused bath salts for participants. I hope you’ll join us!


Rebekah Papé is a writer, yoga teacher and The Riveter member. She teaches breath, meditation and yoga asana on Fridays at 11:30 a.m. and noon in the Capitol Hill studio.