Since I’ve started sharing my new moon ritual ideas and just general love for the moon over on my Instagram account @hannahrosecluley, more and more people have started asking me more questions about my ritual, so I thought I would write out a blog post explaining what I do every new moon.

Before I begin, just to explain, the new moon is the first phase of the lunar (moon) cycle, when the moon is on the same side of the Earth as the sun, and therefore the sunlight shining on the moon’s surface can’t be seen on us down on Earth because it’s on the other side of the moon. We have a new new moon (ha) roughly every 30 days. So with the new moon we can’t actually see it from Earth, but obvs it’s still there. In the Hebrew, Chinese and Hindu calendars, the new moon signifies either the start of their month, or an important date to set new goals or start working on new projects.

Many people believe (and especially throughout history), that, just as the oceans are effected by the moon’s cycles, so are we. Both the moon and sun have a gravitational pull on the Earth, and therefore on humans, animals and plants, there is no scientific studies that prove that the moon truly does affect us, but sometimes you don’t need a study to back up what you already know (like really, people go crazy around a full moon and my sleep is always fucked up, I don’t need a study to tell me whether it’s related or not).

Whether or not there’s a connection, I personally love the moon (it’s so pretty hey!) and I love that I have a firm place every 30 days or so to sit down, check in with myself, meditate and do my new moon ritual and goal setting. Before I explain, I would suggest a few things:

  • Get Moonology by Yasmin Boland – goes into so much detail on the moon and it’s my moon encyclopedia!
  • Get a note book or journal that you can use purely for your new moon rituals
  • Get yourself a nice candle or some palo santo for cleansing the air
  • Download the free app ‘The Moon’, it adds all full and new moons into your phone calendar and you can see what star sign the new/full moon will be in
  • Dedicate 20-30 mins 2-3 days up until the new moon to do your ritual
  • Create a happy, warm, calm and welcoming space for your ritual

My New Moon Ritual

Here’s how I do my new moon ritual:

What you will need:

  • Notebook & pen
  • Candle/palo santo/incense
  • Crystals (optional)
  • Quiet space
  • My phone for meditation timer (I use one called ‘Meditation’)

What I do:

  • Set everything up & light my candle/incense/palo santo
  • Pull 3 cards from my ‘The Universe Has Your Back Deck’ for some nice loving inspo
  • Write down a list of things I want to achieve in the next month, get real specific and make them realistic. For example if you have an overarching goal of ‘Move to the countryside’ then start to think of the smaller steps you need to take.
  • I then take a moment to just sit with those goals, and I manifest them, which means I truly start to believe in my heart that they’re not just ‘going’ to happen, but that it’s already a done deal, and that I don’t even need to worry about it. Yes I may need to work towards them, but I don’t have to feel anxious that they won’t come true, because they will.
  • I create my own affirmation for the month that is relevant to my goals. You can find loads of affirmations online if you need inspiration, don’t feel shy about using one someone else wrote.
  • Meditate on my goals, so after the manifestation I set them in place with a clear mind, sometimes I hold a relevant crystal in my hands if it feels right
  • I ‘ohm’ three times to seal my ritual

Please bear in mind this is my own practice and I have worked out what feels right for me, what feels right for you may be totally different!

Do you have a new moon ritual, if so how do you do yours?

Meditation is taking the wellness scene by storm, even though it is something that has been around for thousands of years, the majority of people in the western world have only just begun to take it seriously. I myself aim to meditate every morning for 11 minutes, and if I can get another meditation in that day then that’s amazing. Here are five reasons why you need to get on that practice ASAP:

1. Reduces Stress

I am pretty certain that 99% of people come to meditation (in London anyway) because their life is stressful. And meditation will help you with that for sure! Meditation triggers the release of endorphins, which reduce stress in the body. Meditation also triggers out parasympathetic nervous system, which is our ‘rest and digest’ which allows us to relax, thereby reducing the levels or stress and the levels of cortisol in our bodies.

2. Helps You Focus

Studies show that people who meditate are better able to remain focused on the task at hand as opposed to getting distracted either by things going on or by random thoughts that pop into your head, here’s one study if you want to read about it! When you hit that 3pm slump at work, instead of reaching for a coffee, why not head off to a quiet spot and meditate for five mins, see what happens!

3. Improves Sleep

I’ve already mentioned that meditation triggers that relax and digest response, as opposed to your fight or flight response (a sudden release of adrenaline and cortisol that’s released into the body, previously to run away from lions, now to just deal with everyday life, funny but it’s not funny…) so just as meditation helps you to reduce stress in this way, it also enables the body to enter into a deeper sleep more easily. It also allows you to change the thought patterns your mind goes through, and enables you to let thoughts move on by, instead of lingering on them, and therefore clear some headspace to allow ourselves to enter into a calm and relaxing sleeping state.

4. Helps Digestion

This is something I learnt recently from an absolute gem named Kate Lister, is that researchers are looking into the connection between meditation and two gastrointestinal ailments, IBS and IBD. The link between the mind and gut is already something that has been explored, and I will tell you that since leaving my old job, and taking a huge stress out of my life, my IBS has pretty much disappeared within 6 months, that’s pretty amazing! Scientists are now going so far as to say that the gut is no longer just our ‘second brain’ but that our brain (original pink thing) and our gut, actually join together and make up one working organism, how cool is that?!  As well as the obvious role it plays, our stomachs also have a brain-like neural network, which plays an essential role in keeping us healthy, as just as meditation changes our brain’s neural pathways and reduces stress, it therefore makes logical sense that it does the same for our gut. And as I have already said, if meditation reduces stress, and stress is one of the main triggers for IBS/IBD, then again, it makes sense that it will help these two really shitty (LOL) issues.

5. Make You Happier

Less stress? Sleeping better? IBS taken a hike? Well hot damn you’re going to feel happier! Not only that but those endorphins being released are going to make you feel damn good too! So all in all meditation is an amazing practice, and yes, sometimes it’s bloody hard and your ten minutes feels like hell on earth but you KNOW that it’s good for you, so give it a try!

Ah Christmas, the time when we indulge, eat all of the food and relax and enjoy some well earned downtime with our close ones. However, after this indulgence, we all decide to buckle up and prepare for the new year and the proverbial ‘new you’. It’s a lot of pressure to put on one’s self, all the resolutions, the huge changes, the goals that are probably not all that attainable. Whilst wanting to make a change is important and amazing, it is also best to do so in a way that won’t make you hate yourself if you fail, and in a way that means you actually won’t fail at all. Here are some tips on getting back on track and how to set goals for the new year.

Stay Active over the Holidays

You don’t have to do a HIIT session every morning, but you could very easily go for a family walk, or do a yoga video in your sitting room (like I did this morning with my mum and aunt). This way, you’re keeping your body moving, but your not actually doing anything too strenuous. The hardest bit in this scenario is just starting. In my opinion the best way is to just do it. Get it done. Don’t procrastinate.

Turn all the Leftovers into Healthy Eats

All that leftover turkey, potatoes and roast veg can easily be turned into healthy meals that you can either share with your family, or portion off and put in the freezer. We turned our turkey into a massive turkey curry (find a nice recipe here) whilst our veg got blended and made into a warm and hearty soup (recipe here) This way nothing gets wasted, and you don’t have to have yet another turkey sandwich.

Make Realistic Goals

I think the biggest problem is when people make New Year’s Resolutions, and they make them completely ridiculous and unachievable. Make your goals something that you can actually achieve. Instead of saying ‘I will go to the gym 6 times a week’ think logically about how many times you will be able to get to the gym (also stepping outside your comfort zone a little bit) and instead maybe say ‘I will go to the gym 5 times a week’. Instead of saying ‘I am going to eat 100% healthy’ say ‘I will eat a healthy and balanced diet’.

Another idea is to write down your goals, and expand upon them. If you want to go to the gym 5 times a week, roughly what workouts will you do, maybe one yoga class, one HIIT session, a leg day, a core day and an upper body day? Or if you want to start eating healthily, you could say you’ll treat yourself to one meal of whatever you like every week. Or you will eat healthily and this is what it will consist of.

Put Your Goals Somewhere You Will See Them

A really cute idea is to get your goals for the new year printed off, and putting them in a frame so you can see them every day! I think I might do this, this way you will be able to read your goals every day and will constantly be reminded of them subconsciously.

Transition in a Way That Works For You

Cold turkey (‘scuse the pun) might work for some people, but more often than not, slowly transitioning into your new goals is a better way of doing it, and far more sustainable too. Slowly make it a part of your routine and before you know it eating healthily or going to the gym most days won’t seem like anything out of the ordinary. Having said that, I know that personally throwing yourself in at the deep-end does work better for me, so it might be worth analysing how you work as a person and doing what best suits you.

Set Rewards For Yourself

A nice way to keep the incentive going is to assign yourself awards if you make it to the one month mark, and then again at the two month mark etc. Choose a prize that you really want. Whether it’s a new set of leggings, a night at the theatre, or a new picture you’d like for your living room. Giving yourself a treat for doing well is – whilst sort of patronising – will actually work wonders. It’s also best to avoid choosing food as the prize, as assigning food that sort of prestige can be dangerous if you’re like me and you love food!

My Intentions for 2017

I thought I’d share my intentions with you all for the new year:

  • Work hard at upper body & core strength
  • Reduce refined sugar and dairy intake (completely if possible)
  • Improve posture & work at shoulder mobility
  • Continue with meditation and Headspace app
  • Work to improve self confidence & self love

My goals might be a bit specific, but I have thought hard at them, and whilst I have other goals, these are the things I need to improve on the most and work hard at. I will do a check up post at the end of January to see how I am doing!

What are your goals/intentions for the new year? I would love to know!