What’s it all about???
What does the holiday season mean to you?  For some, the holiday season means friends, food, and celebration.  For others, it has religious or spiritual significance.  Still more see it as a time of traditions, children, and fun.But no matter what the meaning, many people end up feeling stressed.  Getting caught up in the flurry of shopping, hosting, and commitments can mean a holiday season that is anything but a celebration.

Breathing Your Way through the Holidays

How we breath, the rhythm and placing of our breath reflect and creates our emotional and energetic experience. It is so fundamental to our sense of well-being that it is the beginning of any strong Yoga practice. It is also the one thing that is easy ot address at most times amidst the business of our day to day lives.Breath is so fundamental in my view that the basic instruction on 3 part breathing is the first post I made in this blog. Returning often to your breath during a sequence of poses and in your life off the matt is a way of gently redirecting the mind back to the present.  Coming back time and again to your breath focuses you on the moment.  On the now.  It is this practice that you can bring off the mat.  During particularly busy or stressful times, remember to return to your breath.

Connecting to the Moment

When yogis talk about “being in the moment” or “focusing on the present,” they are referencing the meditative aspect of yoga.  By directing the body into a pose, the mind is channeled into that position.  By practicing an asana, the physical body makes use of space in a way that opens up different areas of the body.

Each asana or Yoga posture affects the mind differently.  Tensions and blockages can be felt strongly in some stances, and subtly in others.  The mind determines whether working on these stiff or stubborn areas feels good or not.

Never push beyond what feels comfortable.  But at the same time, listen carefully to whether the mind is simply resisting, or whether you have indeed reached your edge.  Notice how you react emotionally to a challenging pose.  Sometimes, just observing your own reaction can defuse the reaction itself.

While practicing, it’s important to open your chest fully as you engage in an asana.  Keep your shoulders rolled back and down.  Lift your head and fill your lungs.  Constricting yourself does not open your body to the full expression of a pose.

So I believe an important (side) effect of engaging in a regular yoga practice leading up to the holiday season can make your holiday preparations run more smoothly. Time invested in yoour Yoga practice can be returned to you in more efficient action and more energy as you return to your life. By directing yourself to focus on the moment, your mind will experience a mini-holiday.  Whether a brief time taken at home or a formal class you’ll emerge from rejuvenated, refreshed and looking forward to what the season has to offer once again.