Yoga is not just a series of exercises to tighten your ass.
Maybe the physical aspect draws you in—you never know when you’ll absolutely need to hold a two-minute Chaturanga Dandasana, or tuck your leg behind your head—but for many who practice, the philosophy eventually infiltrates your being. Once you become a yogi, the influence is profound.
I don’t act like Ram Dass every day of my life, but I am mindful and strive for conscientiousness towards all living beings.
I have my moments where, if someone cuts me off on the highway, I honk my horn for an absurdly long time, give them the finger, and then roll down my window to call them a “blind asshole”—but I also will remember to say “Namaste” and keep them in my prayers during evening meditation.
It’s all about balance, am I right?!
Exploring and Applying Yogic Lessons During Thanksgiving
Now that Thanksgiving is upon us, we have a chance to practice yoga in our actual lives, and not just while sweating freely in contorted positions with strangers in a hot room. Although, come to think of it, I have had a couple of nights exactly like that—but it happened in a totally different context.
Thanksgiving is a glorious winter holiday that focuses on gluttony rather than consumerism, but it will still present challenges that are perfect opportunities to explore your yogic lessons.
Here are seven ways to know you are a yogi during Thanksgiving holiday.
1. On Avoiding Turkey
As you pack your hemp pants, shoes made of used tires from Tibet, and flowing shirts sewn with organic fibers embroidered with cricket chirps, you take a break to write a four-page email to your Aunt Betsy who is hosting the family Thanksgiving festivities this year.
In this email, you lovingly provide her with 200 different ways to cook “Tofurkey,” so as not to contribute to the slaughtering of hundreds of millions of innocent birds.
You of course explain it is her decision what she serves, but also send pictures of turkeys being executed by Sarah Palin’s henchmen just to remind her that they were once living creatures (the turkeys, I mean, not the henchmen).
2. On Eating Turkey Non-Violently
If you do choose to eat Turkey, you find the fowl at a local farm where it spends its days eating three-course biodynamic meals, receiving daily Ayurvedic massages, listens to Krishna Das, and has access to 7,000,000 acres to roam freely.
You pick up this sacred bird, and bring it back to your home for a blessing ceremony where you build a shrine to worship its spirit. You then invite the turkey into your bed as a sign of gratitude, while slowly snuggling it to death so it feels no pain, and passes to the other side with a slight smile.
3. On Dealing With Family Drama
You choose to deal with the drama by getting into Goddess Pose and doing Breath of Fire.
And this is at dinner, when your mom pitches a fit because she can’t find her glasses and has had too much wine, when your dad starts yelling at your brother because he always brings the car back with no gas, and when your grandmother makes a racist comment about the Brussels sprouts.
4. On Food and Control
When too full from the vegan salad you brought, you actually stop eating. Enough said.
5. On Spending Thanksgiving Alone
If you are alone and not visiting family, you spend your day chanting to open your fourth chakra, fasting, meditating on thankfulness, and praying for world peace, because family peace is a distant non-reality (See number three above).
6. On Saying Grace
When everyone sits down to eat, you not only insist on saying grace to bless every single dish for providing sustenance, you also request an hour-long group processing session to discuss the genocide of America’s indigenous people.
When someone suggests maybe keeping dinner conversation “light,” you respond with reminding them that our country is built on the blood of those we have viciously murdered and enslaved.
7. On Post-Dinner 'Festivities'
After eating, when everyone is super full and wanting to relax, you insist on a 90-minute rigorous Vinyasa practice to get the blood flowing.
When no one wants to join, you graciously remind them that their energy is likely experiencing major stagnation and they should probably think about at least doing alternate nostril breathing for the rest of the afternoon as you skip off with your mat to get your Downward Dog on.
Do you connect with any of these traits and behaviors? Are there any specific things you plan to do to practice your true, authentic yogic essence this season? Let me know in the comments!