The holiday season can present us with a two edged sword: expectation and aversion. Once December begins, this mechanism moves into full swing. There is a sense of expectation that the holidays will brighten the darkening December days in the northern hemisphere and that should or could either be as magical as our most special memory of a time gone by or not as terrible as our most ghastly family side-show. In short, the season evokes either nostalgia or dread and a need to get everything just so in order to recreate it or not. So at the first jingle of Christmas carols in the malls, you may notice this compulsion to kick into high gear, hide or a perplexing mix of the two. How can yoga wisdom help us overcome this holiday stress and enjoy the season more?
Here’s part one of my guide to celebrating rather than consuming and overcoming bah humbug this year!
Find Meaning in Moments
As the season ramps up to a frenzy, take time for short meaningful moments. On your way home from work, school, the shops in the evening, slow your pace slightly, look around, and notice perhaps the crispness of the air, the sound of the crystals in the flakes of snow as they fall, or if you’re not in a place that is this quiet, the view of fluffy flakes illuminated by a street lamp.
Amidst the to-dos, make time for things you really want to do – whether it is baking with the kids or neighbours, going to a free local concert or simply taking a walk or drive around at night to see all the lights, really drop into the experience. Holiday magic comes from being lit-up and totally present to the moment, however simple.
Discover your sounds and tastes of the season. Let it all in!
Finding Meaning is Symbols
Notice any seasonal decorations, natural or artificial, excessive or artful, and drop into the intention. Colourful lights are a symbol of warmth and illumination in the darkening days approaching the winter solstice. The large air-puffed Frosty the Snowman on a neighbouring lawn could remind you of the lightness of how children play in the snow.
Celebrate the greens of the season, spruce trees, holly, mistletoe and cedar wreaths. Enjoy the smells and colours of these symbols and find your special anchor. Which symbol really speak to you and why. Begin to create a whole heirloom of meaning around this symbol in and around you home and with your friends and family. Speak over a candle lit dinner with friends or family about what this means to you.
This season may you find a balance between doing and being as well as enjoying tradition and bringing new, fresh personal meaning to the symbols of the holidays.
Do you want to gather with yoga friends in Ottawa?
We’re meeting December 6th and 20th for satsang at 7PM!
Want to offer yoga gifts this season, we have two great holiday offers! Check them out at the Akhanda Store //akhandayoga.com/shop/store/