As Chinese New Year approaches, we turn to the calendar of the iChing, also calledBook of Changes. 2014 is the year of the Horse and the elements Wood and Fire. This could be a very powerful year for you! Read on to find out how to harness the power of the horse to benefit your physical, emotional, spiritual, and relationship health.

2014 is symbolized by momentum

Movement and action are going to abound this year, so expect a busy year, lots of travel, and a hectic schedule. The trick to having a productive and positive year is to ride the next twelve months like you would ride a horse. Any good horse master can attest that the best way to handle a horse is to be gentle, yet firm, and give only clear commands or else you will confuse her and bring possible injury to you and your steed. Likewise, this year you should carve out a clear purpose and a well-defined direction in all your endeavors—and then the momentum of the year will carry you the distance! But, be sure to keep your impulsiveness in check or else confrontations and challenges will stand in your way.

This will also be a creative year, because Wood gives birth to Fire. However, 2014 is characterized by too much fire, so watch out for heated conflicts locally and abroad.

1. Physical Health

The Wood element is related to your liver, nervous system, and head, while the Fire element relates to your heart, cardiovascular system, and circulation. Pay special attention to these areas, and seek professional help at the onset of any symptoms.

Start here: Begin this New Year with a gentle detoxification program. Throughout your day, drink hot lemon water, fresh vegetable juices, and cleansing teas of dandelion, peppermint, and chrysanthemum. You can try the herbal formula Internal Cleanse as tea or capsules to help you along and support your Wood element. Steer clear of coffee, red meat, and fried, fatty foods. For heart health, eat fish or take fish oils, exercise regularly, and keep stress low and blood pressure down by practicing meditation.

2. Emotional Health

Anger will be your chief enemy this year. When explosive, anger can hurt others and you, especially your liver, nervous system, and heart. When unexpressed, anger can become depression or resentment.

Start here: Channel your anger towards productive endeavors, such as challenging yourself with a new exercise regime or changing negative situations into positive ones. Learn to verbally express your anger by writing in a journal or verbally talking through issues in a calm manner.

3. Spiritual Health

Cultivating a spiritual understanding of life can help you develop a deeper, richer perspective on the human condition. When you develop yourself spiritually, you can transform anger into compassion, anxiety into peace, and confusion into clarity.

Start here: Read spiritual books, whichever ones speak to you. I have benefited greatly in my own spiritual cultivation from Entering the Tao. Also, I recommend learning mind-body exercises such as Qi Gong and Tai Chi, which are moving meditations that connect you to the universal source of existence. Look for a skilled teacher or try learning from a DVD, such as Self Healing Qi Gong, a series that has been passed down through 38 generations of Ni family healers.

4. Relationship Health

Wood and Fire elemental years often exhibit stubborn and impulsive tendencies. You are going to need to control your impulsiveness, think through the consequences of your actions, and respond deliberately. This will help you in your personal relationships, business relationships, and is also good advice for your relationship to your finances.

Start here: Cultivate an attitude that is flexible, compromising, and adaptable to arrive at a mutually beneficial solution for work and home. Spiritual practices, like meditation, will naturally help you achieve this state. A practical way to overcome impulsive action is to create a list of things (physical, emotional, spiritual, relationship, and financial) you know you want to accomplish in the next twelve months. It doesn’t need to be set in stone! Just pick a place to focus your actions. You can create this list with your significant other, family, or simply yourself. Choose three to five tasks that are most important and create a monthly plan to get them to happen on a realistic timeline. Revisit this list at least once a month and consider keeping notes on your progress. You will be amazed at what can be accomplished in one year’s time!

I hope you have a happy, healthy, and fulfilling Year of the Horse!

You can find more about living long and strong in my book Secrets of Longevity: Hundreds of Ways to Live to Be 100, available on Kindle.

Follow me on Twitter to get insider tips and to ask your health questions. 

May you live long, live strong, and live happy!

—Dr. Mao

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