Relish the Festivities This Year by Adding a Little Yoga to Your Holiday Rituals

Can you smell it?

Scent shapes our experiences in countless ways. Well, okay. maybe you can count them. But the impact is obvious. And old holiday traditions no one looks forward to have a smell. It's stale and faint, in case you were wondering. It rebukes. We want to be enticed and seduced into the holidays, don't we?

Let the excitement begin this year with brand spanking new yoga holiday rituals

So what the hell are yoga holiday rituals anyway? I'm gonna go ahead and make up a definition here. We are yoga folk. Our practice is how we go about our lives. So, how does it make any sense that our holidays don't contain rituals and traditions that include yoga? I'll answer that. It really doesn't. So as we gather with our friends, families, and communities, let's involve and revolve the festivities around our beloved practices and share them as the gifts they are with those around us. If you've got a few naysayers or resistant people in your inner circle, this is the ideal opportunity to show them the various and vast sides of the yoga spectrum. Surely some components of yoga will speak to them. Maybe even ALL of the yoga will ring their bells. Don't be afraid to add a little humor. In fact, be a little frightened not to.

It doesn't have to be all serious, yo

Let's not underestimate how unbelievably good a belly laugh feels. Plus, adding humor may help others delete the stereotype of yoga people and their habits from their brains. We don't want those. They suck and we can help those around us understand that everyone is a yoga person and everyone has a yoga body. It's all about the approach. Try one or all of these ideas. Hopefully, they'll stir your own creative juices and you'll come up with something that feels original and very unique to you. The idea is to celebrate, enjoy, and look forward to the holidays. If I'm wrong about that, someone please tell me what they're all about.

Yoga holiday traditions to make your own

  • Decorations should be many things. Meaningful, adorable, and specific to your life. Invite your yoga buddies over and make your best ornament, incense holder, door bling, or table setting. The only rule is that yoga needs to be represented in your craft. You could turn it into a competition. (because that's what the holidays are all about, right?) Or you could pick numbers so that you get to choose the decoration you want to call your own. If yours gets chosen last, who cares! They have no taste. Get silly and creative. Enjoying each other is the best gift of all.
  • Have a chakra soup potluck. I'm doing this on December 16th if anyone wants to come. Yoga Journal published an article last month with recipes that stimulate and correspond with each chakra. Invite at least 6 friends and divvy up the soups. Invite a few others and task them with bringing the yummiest soup-friendly bread as a contribution. Before soup, enjoy a chakra-inspired home practice together. This will be a yoga holiday tradition you'll want to continue forever. And encourage everyone to bring containers to take leftover soup home. I really can't wait for this.

Got any yoga holiday rituals of your own to share?

We would LOVE to hear from you. Please share in the comments so we can gift each other with ideas and possibilities to continue these community building yoga holiday rituals together.


Celebrating Failure 

I love to fail. No, now c'mon, that's not exactly accurate. But I do genuinely feel it's merit and it's not something I shy away from. What, exactly, is so profoundly scary about failing for you? We know that failure offers valuable information. There are memes galore about fear of failure and how it's the number one thing that holds us back from greatness. So why do we try so hard not to fail and regard a specific version of success as the only acceptable outcome? If I try and fail, then.....what? The sun ceases to heat the earth? All the good you've ever done becomes undone? Is there not something so beautiful about just trying things out and not attaching to the outcome?
When is the last time you did this? What happened? Are you glad you tried, even if it didn't quite work out the way you might have envisioned or hoped for?
A friend of mine bought a very popular boutique a few years ago. By most people's definition, she was a big success. She tried her best. There were certain things she liked, but too many that she didn't. And once she understood she probably shouldn't be crying every night or dreading the incessant demands that being a business owner brings, she landed on the decision to close the doors and follow that persistent voice in her head......she wanted to teach yoga and travel the world.
Being tied down to a brick and mortar establishment wasn't the path for her. She is so very happy now and free from the wonderment and regret that may have plagued her had she not ever tried. 'What if?' and 'Should I?' can follow us all over the globe, begging us to live in regret. Trying and failing and having no expectations other than hope alleviates the burden of an antiquated definition of success. Trying IS success. And failure should be celebrated because it means you fucking gave it your all.
Let's celebrate our failures! I'm talking throw a parade and invite everyone you know celebrating. You tried, I celebrate you for that. You showed up, I cheer you on for making that choice. You keep going after your goals and allow failure to lead you in the direction you're ultimately supposed to go, hurray! You see failure as a necessary and natural part of the process of figuring out your passions and life's purpose, Every YES!
I love the term 'falling ass-backwards'. So many of us can laughingly relate to the head-scratching state of the happy life we're living and confusion over just how we landed here. Spontaneously signing up for a still life painting class and bonding with the handsome painter next to you over just how horrible you both are at delivering paint to a canvas offers a glimpse of your vulnerability and confidence to try new things without needing to excel. As a result of trying something new, you find the most loving relationship of your life and you wind up moving with him to an alpaca farm in Peru. Your reaction to failure spoke so highly of your character and ability to enjoy and learn things for the sake of having fun and understanding that we won't be automatically excellent at everything on our first try. We have to be willing to try and fail to create such a powerful opportunity to experience this deeper layer of our psyche and share this part of ourselves with another person.
Again wraps around the question, 'Who would you be if you knew you couldn't fail?' I'm going to pose a different question: Who would you be if you celebrate all that failure brings?
I know the things that have come easily to me in life are the things I'm most prone to take for granted. But the hard-won stuff, that I own because I earned it, and didn't give up or get so discouraged I convinced myself it wasn't worth my time to stay with it? That stuff is why I love myself.
Does that mean we should never learn from our failures that the answer is to quit? Hell no! That's what trial and error are all about. It opens us up to close the door on one thing to pursue another exciting option. That's basically the entire premise behind dating, right? If one relationship doesn't work out and we give it the power to question our ability to love and be loved, we cease to remain open to that wonderous big love that will come our way if we don't block it.
Go out and try something new. But this time, bring the mindset that maybe you'll be good at it, and maybe you won't and that's not ultimately what matters. Trying is success. Enjoy your day.
By Lara Falberg

5 Eco-Friendly, Nature-Inspired Holiday Decoration Ideas

5 Eco-Friendly, Nature-Inspired Holiday Decoration Ideas

Whether you’re a yogi who celebrates Christmas, Hanukkah, the Winter Solstice, or any other December holiday or tradition, taking inspiration from nature for your decor is an inexpensive and eco-friendly way to celebrate.

If you have a little extra time and a crafty DIY side, making your own decorations from wood, pinecones, moss, leaves, acorns, berries and other pieces of nature can be a fun and rewarding experience—especially if you have kids who’d like to get involved.

Our Yogi Surprise members will be receiving two special decorative gifts in their December Lifestyle boxes, but here are a few more decorative ideas for our members and Yogi Journal readers who really want to get into the holiday spirit!

 

Golden Tree Branches

 

Image via Culturescribe

 

Go out into the woods and look for branches that have already fallen to the ground (to avoid having to break any off of the trees). Mediums-sized branches with a long end and several smaller branches at the top are ideal.

Get some non-toxic gold (or even silver) paint and spray them or use a brush to give them a shiny holiday look. Simply add them to a vase and you’re done!

 

Cranberry and Rosemary Mason Jar Centerpieces

 

Image via Damask & Dentelle

 

Got a few mason jars around your home? They’ll make perfect centerpieces for when you have to entertain guests!

Fill them up with water, add several sprigs of rosemary and then drop a bunch of fresh cranberries into them before adding an all-natural floating candle on top. These make simple, yet festive centerpieces that are not only colourful but also very rustic looking.

 

Painted Pinecone Wreath

 

 

Real evergreen wreaths are lovely, but they certainly don’t last. If you know a pine tree or two that have shed all their pinecones for the season, gather them up and use them to make your own unique pinecone wreath.

Paint them in whichever colors you like before arranging and attaching them to a wire wreath frame. The blue one above would make a perfect decoration for celebrating Hanukkah or the winter season.

 

Glass Ball Ornament Terrarium

 

Image via Couleur Nature

 

Put a creative spin on traditional Christmas ball ornaments by getting clear glass ones and filling them with bits of nature. Glass is ideal because it’s a much more eco-friendly material, but if you have kids or pets, plastic ones might be safer.

Add soil, moss, twigs, plants and an optional ribbon for the top. Here are some detailed instructions for how to go about making your own!

 

Gold Dipped Acorns

 

Image via Housely

 

Acorns typically fall from oak trees throughout the autumn season, so if you know of one in your area, now might be a good time to go collect a few (if the squirrels haven’t already, of course).

Paint or dip the ends in gold or silver paint, leaving the tops bare. Tie some string or ribbon to the stems to hang them as cute little tree ornaments or simply place them in a bowl or glass vase as a centerpiece.