Making Time For You: Yogi Guide to the Holidays
by Emily Toles
I think by now we’re all saying “It’s the most wonderful time of the year!” Maybe you have found yourself in a situation similar to mine; singing this song as you frantically rush to get last-minute holiday dinner supplies and gifts, wishing you could ask Santa for more time in the form of 36-hour days. It seems that this time of the year, there’s a lot more “running out of time” than there is having a “most wonderful time!” While Santa may not be able to gift us shorter workdays and longer vacation days, there are several ways we can gift ourselves holiday cheer using our daily Yoga practice. Here are a couple of simple ways to help cultivate even more cheerFULL holiday schedules!
Waking Up an Hour Earlier
This may seem like a big ask, especially if you prefer sleeping in like I do. However, waking up an hour earlier than we normally do can give us time to center ourselves and prepare for the day. Not to mention, there is a lot of work that can be done before the kids get up or we have to run off to work!
Moving Through The Day with Intention
You may have taken a Yoga class where at the start, the teacher invited the class to set an intention, also known as a Sankalpa. I invite you to practice setting an intention for your day, at the beginning of your day. When we set an intention, we make a commitment to ourselves to move mindfully towards that intention. During busy work- or errand-days, this can look like creating a list, planning ahead, and asking for help when we need it. All of these preparation techniques help us focus on what resonates with our intention. This is a great mindfulness tool that can be used at any time of year but is especially helpful during the busy holidays
Making A List & Checking It Once
One of my go-to preparation techniques for the holidays is making a list of everything that I need to accomplish each week leading up to the holiday. Once I’ve done that, I organize that list from the highest-priority to lowest-priority. Now, if you have perfectionist or busy-body tendencies like I do, you will probably insist that on your gets list DONE. Instead of doing that, take a few minutes to acknowledge the fact that it is perfectly okay to not get everything done. Your health and happiness are what your friends and family will remember this season, not how clean your fridge was, or if the holiday dessert was made from scratch or not. We can use our Yogi skills to let go of the idea of perfection and find peace within the chaos.
Keeping Up with Your Physical Practice
Keeping up with our personal Yoga & Meditation practice is critical to maintaining balance while juggling all of our holiday duties. Balancing our physical and emotional bodies and the effects of holiday shopping and attending multiple gatherings can be hard enough, even without missing any of our regular classes. Any amount of time dedicated to your personal health and growth is better than none at all, so even a few minutes a day will suffice! Many studios have holiday schedules and canceled classes, so you may have to roll out your mat at home and guide yourself through your own practice. For more tips on how to maintain a happy home Yoga practice see- Establishing a Home Yoga Practice: By Michelle Young.
Being Present In The Moment
Lastly, find time this holiday season to enjoy yourself and be present in the moment. If you find yourself rushing or running, stop, take a deep breath and center yourself in loving gratitude. Remind yourself of your strength, courage, and goodness and apply compassionate understanding to yourself and others. The very best gift you can give to someone is your presence.