13/12/15 - May yoga be with you this Christmas

Christmas. The time of office parties, never-ending Celebrations, countless mince pies, free-flowing wine, and that's not even counting the Big Day. It's the tradition to over-indulge and max out knowing we'll repent when puritanical January comes, yet, if yoga teaches us anything, it's that we become alert to habitual patterns with Christmas indulgence one mighty habit that we repeat every darn year. 

Previous to teaching, I worked in an office-environment, spent evenings at events, desks filled with sweet fancies, with hampers of wine, cheese and crackers beckoning to opened on each day of Christmas, so I know first hand the temptations of wanting to embrace the season. So how do we stick to our intentions and really put into practice our yogic principles of moderation, non-harming, and balance? Here are some first hand tips:

Do a morning practice
Whether it's 10 or 90 minutes, wake up a little earlier and move your body. By simply setting an intention and sticking to it, we start the working day a little brighter, alert, and have released powerful feel-good hormones that will counteract mid-morning slumps and sugar cravings. We're less likely to over-snack when we've actively moved our bodies, and through syncronising the breath and movement, we're also more mindful. 

Let guilt go
Ok, so we've scoffed eight Celebrations within an hour, had a mince pie two hours before, and are out this evening for a client party. We haven't done yoga for two weeks, and are so overcome by guilt we want to say 'to hell with it' and start afresh in January. Just drop the guilt. Easier said than done, but it can be done. What you're feeling right now, would you say that to a child or another person? Would you berate them in such a manner? No, you wouldn't. So let it go, and start afresh right now. And if you give in again? Start afresh again. Drop the guilt and be kind to yourself. 

Say yes and say no
We don't have to abstain to be a good yogi at Christmas, we only have to say yes and say no in a mindful way. Knowing what is driving the choices will determine if we really want what is being offered. If we're saying yes to fit in with the crowd, then perhaps we should say no and be true to who we are. If we're saying no to stick to an ideal we have of ourselves, then we should embrace the moment and perhaps say yes. 

'Moderation' is such a boring word so I'll use balance instead. I read the other day how people are less likely to fall into a hangover abyss as they either sweat it out at the gym, or prep themselves before a big night out. When partying, they opt for more natural alcoholic beverages (Vodka with cold pressed apple juice, anyone?) and avoid sugary cocktails, drink water in-between and manage to find a balance that works for them. You will have a party to attend, dinner parties, and a never-ending supply of mulled wine, so just find where you can make little adjustments and stick to it. 

Gosh, so many things could fall under this category but let's use the most encompassing two: non-harming to others and to ourselves. It's always a shock how the festive season places people on mass panic every year, where we fill ourselves with expectations of how the perfect Christmas will be, place enormous pressure on others to provide this (wish lists etc.), and so look forward to the 25th that we stop acknowledging everything we have in this moment and are not present. Let's take some time to pause each morning and evening to recognise what we do have, feel our breath and snap back into the present moment by asking "Where am I? What am I doing?" Be kind to yourself and be kind to others (oh, you can't be kind to others if you're not kind to yourself, but this will be another post). 

Now enjoy the festivities and I'll see you on 6th January - it's a free class that week!

Charlene x