The holidays can be a stressful time of the year. There’s a general hustle and bustle about, with people flying across the country, battling intense weather, and sitting in long grocery store lines in anticipation of good times with friends and family. Despite the stressful atmosphere, though, it’s ultimately a time of real joy and companionship, when one can sit back, relax, and enjoy the people that matter most. Sure, the standard holidays we celebrate in the States might not be the easiest to celebrate as a good yogi, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy them with your loved ones.
Here are a few of our favorite tips to remain stress-free, peaceful, and practicing your yogi ways over the holidays:
1. Practice Acceptance
One of the toughest parts of the holiday can be when things don’t go quite as planned. Maybe it’s a missing ingredient, a burnt casserole, or an eating time that was much later tan anticipated. Whatever it may be, take time to step back and reflect on the bigger picture. There’s no use in getting upset, and in the same way you practice acceptance as a yogi throughout your day, you should practice it here, in the presence of your family. If a loved one seems to be struggling with the same stress, take a moment to relax them and remind them that it isn’t what’s on the table that’s important, but the people around it.
2. Get Your Family Moving
You know how beneficial yoga is to your physical and mental health, but does your family? The holidays are a great time to encourage them to get up and get active, and it’s an opportunity for you to share the knowledge and teachings you’ve gleaned as a yogi. Leading a few simple poses, be it Tadasana (Mountain Pose), Balasana (Child’s Pose), or Utkatasana (Chair Pose), is a fun way to do an activity while inspiring an interest for yoga. Be open to their questions, and be mindful of how you lead yourself in front of your “students.”
3. Slow Down, Be Present, and Enjoy Some Tea
Most importantly, be sure to spend some time not spending time. Live in the moment, be conscious of your surroundings, and take it all in. If you’re home visiting the family, make time to reconnect with friends over tea. If you’re having a solitary holiday, use the liberation to let your mind and body rest. Do not fret about what has come to pass or what is ahead – simply be.
Practice Happiness this Holiday Season
Above all, remember the real purpose of the holiday season: to be happy. It’s not about the gifts, the food, the travel, or even the specific day of the month. Really, it’s about taking time to practice the tradition of relieving yourself of stress and allowing yourself to unwind, like you deserve to do. The “Holiday Spirit” as some call it, transcends religious calendar dates, cooking traditions, or anything else for that matter; rather, it can be likened to the same positivity, compassion, and attention to ‘oneness’ that drives those who practice yoga. Practice happiness, and your season (and indeed your life) will be happy too.