It’s that time of year again. We’re stringing tinsel and hanging lights, hosting gatherings and making lists. What should we buy Aunt Edna? What should we bring to the office party? Where’s the rest of the wrapping paper?
From decorations to endless decisions — 'tis the season to be stressed out.
What’s a yogi to do? Stay calm, of course. Because if there’s one thing we’ve got over CrossFit, it’s our cathartic practice. Time to hop on the mat, yogi, and when we’re done Down Dogging, we can do the following to stay calm in the crowded mall and wherever we go.
1. Practice Pranayama
Pranayama, or breath work, is the practice of controlling the breath. It’s something many yogis are already doing as a part of their regular practice. But if you’re a newbie on the mat or just not familiar with pranayama, here are some reasons you should make it a habit — especially around the holiday season:
Yogic breathing allows us to reduce stress instantly by activating the body’s natural relaxation response (parasympathetic response). The changes that happen in the body when you begin to control your breathing include reducing your heart rate, blood pressure, and muscle tension. Nitric oxide levels increase, and you enter a state of “rest and digest.”
The best part about pranayama? You can do it whenever the mood strikes: in your pajamas when tomorrow’s to-do list won’t quit scrolling through your brain, in rush hour traffic, or when you’re sprawled out on your mat thirty minutes into your morning yoga session.
There are tons of tutorials on various pranayama techniques. Find one that works for you. And then do it!
2. Come Back to The Present
Have you been busy planning this season’s soiree? Are you mentally putting together all the pieces of your holiday puzzle? Have you stepped into the future, and forgotten where you are right now?
It’s easy to do. Heck, Kevin McCallister’s parents broke some major child endangerment laws when they left him behind in the classic Christmas movie Home Alone. Poor Kev.
Don’t feel guilty if you find yourself wandering into the future. Just bring yourself back with some amazing mantra, such as:
- "I am here now."
- "I am enough. I have enough. I am doing enough."
- "I have all I need."
- "I choose happiness."
3. Take a Mindful Walk
Forget about zoning out in front of some Netflix special. Why not take a nature walk, and absorb the beauty around you? Grab your fur baby, a friend, or your sweetie and set off into the sunset. You might even go it alone, and just take in the scene.
Try to practice mindfulness as your trek down your path, through the park, or around your neighborhood.
Pay attention to the wind, and notice how it feels on your skin. Listen to the crackle of twigs and gravel beneath your feet — or the crunching of snow as your heels melt into the white matter. Really use your senses to experience your world... and then practice gratitude.
You don’t have to let the hustle and bustle of this season disturb your sense of peace. You’re a yogi. You got this!
Do you have any tips on how to stay calm during the season? Share in the comments below!