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Whether you head over the river and through the woods to Grandmother’s house for the holiday or enjoy a few quite moments at home with your partner, family traditions are a part of many people’s celebrations. We all want our loved ones to experience joy, health, and happiness this season (and all seasons). For the yoga enthusiast, the best way to experience that is through a regular yoga practice, so it’s natural to want to share your yoga practice with them. Chances are yoga isn’t a part of your family tradition, so how do you share that with your family and friends who might not be as excited about yoga as you are?
Here are a few suggestions that have worked for me.
1. Compassion is key. Having compassion for loved ones who don’t share in your commitment to healthy living is one of the best ways to practice yoga with them. You never know what’s going on in someone else’s life—so save your judgements and aim to uplift and inspire others instead.
2. Embody the practice. Take deep, slow breaths. Enjoy the present moment. Radiate health and warmth to all that you come into contact with. Eventually your loved ones will notice, and wonder if they should take up yoga, too.
3. Be subtle. No one likes to have someone else’s lifestyle pushed upon them. It might annoy you that your grandfather smokes two packs a day and eats sausage gravy for breakfast three times a week, but he’s definitely not going to change his ways if you preach at him the benefits of yoga. Practice compassion and understanding for his situation instead and be available to give advice if and when he asks for it (and not one second before).
4. Know when to back off. We know when we’ve gone too far in a pose because our bodies tell us. This is a skill that is extremely useful for family gatherings, too. When you notice your breath is shallow or you muscles are contracting, it might be time to take a break.
5. Find the yoga in every situation. Can eating traditional holiday dishes, opening gifts, or staying up late waiting for Santa be yoga? It can if you do it with mindfulness.
Do you practice yoga with your family as part of your holiday tradition?