Create a Yogic Holiday Season
When I was a young medical doctor, I would often roster myself to work in the ER over Christmas, allowing colleagues who celebrated the holiday to be with their families. We were prepared for a very busy time in the emergency room, and one of the most common symptoms we treated was depression, with its underlying sense of alienation and loneliness. People who have lost loved ones or who are financially impoverished suffer tremendously during the holiday season. For me, it was a time when I could test just how stable the light of yoga was in my heart.
The Holiday Season Provides Opportunity
As yoga teachers, this is an ideal time to encourage our students to apply what they have learned in class. We can tell our students that managing the holiday season is their exam, the real test of how much they have learned and embodied over the year.
What Do the Holidays Mean to You?
As they develop a sense of that meaning, suggest that they focus on disentangling commercial pressures from the essence of the holidays. This will help them plan strategies that will make this period meaningful and fulfilling.
There are many techniques that help us stay grounded and centered. To do this effectively, however, we need to contemplate strategies that we can actually apply outside of the practice space. This meditation, then, is mental rehearsal for the actual event.
Remind students that yoga is more than technique; it is a way of being. Breath is the best tool we have to remain conscious and calm; any time is a good time to practice moving and breathing more slowly and consciously.
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