The holidays can be a tough to navigate, especially when you’re a yogi. This time of year forces us to be out and about more, spending more time socializing and eating than usual, and spending less time maintaining our normal routines.
The excesses of Christmas can throw you off your center and leave you feeling drained by the time the New Year rolls around. If you need help staying balanced during this festive time of year, here are some tips to enjoy the holidays without trashing your yogic lifestyle.
1. Promise to maintain your sitting practice.
During the holidays, when things get incredibly busy and crazy, it can be very tempting to skimp out on your sitting practice. If you do not have a regular sitting practice, now may also seem like a bad time to attempt to get one started.
But with all the outward extensions of your energy in extra social engagements, shopping trips, errands, and everything else, spending time in your own energy in peace and quiet will go a long way in helping you feel sane.
Maintaining or starting a sitting practice where you simply allow yourself to be alone by yourself is going to make this holiday season so much more calm and centered. You don’t need to sit for an hour; five to 10 minutes is enough to connect with your own energy and regain your balance.
2. A short practice is better than no practice at all.
Like with your sitting practice, Christmas is no time to skimp on your asana or other movement practices either. If you are finding yourself extra busy, with company, or out of your usual routine for any other reason, remember to give up any ‘all or nothing’ thinking.
If you are not able to maintain your usual one-hour asana practice, it doesn’t mean you should skip practicing altogether. Getting on your mat and moving and breathing for 10 minutes is going to serve you so much better than not getting on your mat at all. Remember, some is better than none.
3. Return to your breath.
If you’re feeling particularly overwhelmed, frantic, or otherwise out of sorts, remember that you have access to the most powerful tool for drawing yourself back into your own energy and back into the present moment available to you at all times.
Your breath is always going to be there to save you from feeling crazy, and you can always tune into it. Taking five to 10 slow, mindful deep breaths will help pull you out of fears of the future, stresses of the past, and strong energies from those around you, bringing you back to your here and now.
From there, you will feel much more empowered to tackle whatever lies ahead. I also highly recommend setting aside a few minutes each day to dedicate to a breathing practice as a way of preventing any overwhelm from taking over your day.
4. Make it about the people, not the food.
Food can be quite stressful for people this time of year. With all the added treats at potlucks, office parties, dinner dates, and family get-togethers, there’s always the possibility of indulging to the point of feeling overstuffed and regretful.
Instead of making this time of year all about the food and any battles you may have with it, focus more on the company. At all your events, set your intention to be very present with the people you are spending time with, engaging with those around you and letting the food take a backseat.
Try eating a little healthy meal before going to any social engagement to make sure you aren’t starving when you get there. This can really help you avoid overindulging in anything you know won’t make you feel your best. Enjoy with gusto, be present, and make your time with loved ones count.
5. Broaden your perspective.
Lastly, remember that this season can get overwhelming when it is taken out of context. Instead of stressing about every late night, missed yoga practice, overindulgent meal, social expectation, and getting everyone the perfect gift, know that this season is really about love.
Focus on all the blessings in your life and on your loved ones and remember that the holidays too shall end. Remember, you will return to your normal routine, your normal diet, and your normal social life soon enough, and no one meal is the end of the world.
So breathe, be present, and remember to be grateful. ‘Tis the season, but the season is short! Take the extra time to focus on all of love all around you, to nourish and cultivate the love within you, and to have fun!
What do you like to do to keep yourself feeling balanced and centered this time of year? Any tips I missed? I would love to hear from you!