We all know that the holidays can bring much excitement in to our lives. We probably have also all experienced some of the stress, over indulgence and exhaustion that can come from with this celebratory time of year. Some of this stress or exhaustion might have to do with the lengths in which we go to see loved ones – like traveling long distances or getting stuck in holiday traffic, while other ways of not feeling our best over the holidays have to do with excessive drinking, eating or spending. But what if there was something we could do that would align into equilibrium with ourselves so that our holidays become a time where we can rest, restore, have fun and feel our best in our bodies and minds? Yoga is an ideal practice to help us care for ourselves over the holidays. The benefits of a holiday practice begin by carving out a little personal time each day for the physical asana practice and also some time to devote to meditation. As we begin to move, stretch and strengthen, endorphins get released so we almost immediately begin to experience positive emotions like joy, happiness and gratitude. These positive emotions that can arise during the yoga practice, are in many ways what the holidays boil down to: gratitude, peace and joy. It’s an ideal time to commit to a yoga practice to help cultivate these benefits a little bit more.
A specific part of the yoga practice that can help to profoundly shift our awareness into the gifts of the present is meditation. The meditation practice literally begins to refocus our brains so we become much more aware of what’s arising, and then are able to consciously choose whether or not we want to engage with that emotion/thought. Meditation is a powerful tool that lets us choose our thoughts and how we want to feel- letting us transform negative emotions into ones like joy, wisdom and compassion- beautiful lenses to wear during the season of giving. Another benefit of a keeping up a yoga practice over the holidays is the healthy, happy glow you’ll have from the more active parts of the practice-you’ll sweat, burn calories and work up an appetite to help you enjoy the delectable food you’ll be savoring. You’ll be happier- and since energy is often times contagious- those around you will feel happier too.
Last, but not least, is that yoga is an inspiring way to take care of yourself! Self-care is a radical act of self-love. Self-care helps us to cultivate feelings of love towards ourselves, which can go hand and hand with happiness. When someone is happy, others are more likely to feel happy too- because energy is contagious. One thing for sure, is that there can never be too much happiness and love in this world. Let’s take extra good care of ourselves this holiday season by committing to showing up on our mats, and in doing so, commit to taking good care of others.