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The holidays are supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year. We get to see friends and family whom we may not have seen for months or years. We decorate the house and likely engage in fun family traditions like cookie baking, sleigh rides, etc. But amidst all this gaiety, there is the stress of getting it all done, the expense of purchasing gifts, and, last but certainly not least, the memories and emotions that arise.
So how do we enjoy the fun of the holidays without all the negative baggage that comes with them? One way is to give yourself the present of presence. Enjoy each moment as it arrives, without stressing about the rest of the gifts you need to buy, whether uncle Harry is bringing his frightful girlfriend to the party or if the cookies you sent to the school will be popular. Breathe, stay present and enjoy. Do that when you find your mind tied in a knot or feel too busy to take a moment. STOP. Sit and breathe slowly, exhaling down through the soles of your feet, connecting to the earth. If you are home, do the shorter yoga nidra. YOU HAVE TIME. If you spend this moment worrying about the past or the future, you’ve lost it forever. You can’t change the past, so let it go, maybe even planting an intention around it in yoga nidra. As for the future, tackle things in bite-size chunks and stop worrying about anything you can’t control. Greet each new moment like a present under the tree: a beautiful surprise waiting for you to open it!
On a personal note, the days I feel too busy to meditate are the days I most need to do it. Take time for your yoga nidra this month, as I am sure it will make a big difference!
You can start this month by setting an intention to do the following:
Take 3-5 minutes each morning to sit, breathe and move before you start the day.
- Sit on the floor or your mat with your eyes closed.
- First, notice your breath. Let yourself settle into your breath, becoming absorbed in the sound and movement.
- Begin to notice what is happening in the moment – sounds, sensations, aromas, and thoughts. Notice thoughts that arise and let them pass by.
- With each exhale, let go of any thoughts or emotions that take hold.
- Lastly, set an intention that you will embrace each moment just for today and strive to stay present.
Listen to your short yoga nidra recording every other day.
Listen to one of your traditional yoga nidra recordings once a week.
You will likely be doing other fulfilling yoga-related work – going to studio classes, doing the home asana practices, reading the blog posts – but let the list above be your minimum baseline.
This is your daily yoga nidra meditation, Christmas Presence (25 minutes). It will help you find calm during the holiday season, or any hectic time.
This is your weekly yoga nidra meditation, Embracing the Present (33 minutes). This meditation enables you to insert this month’s intention, “I embrace each moment as a gift, an opportunity for me to love, learn and grow.” Get comfy and enjoy!!
Try out this new kids yoga nidra with a child in your family. Helping our kids feel safe and loved and helping them develop mindfulness early in life is a great gift! They, too, can benefit from ‘presence’ over the holidays.
Reminder: Any poses or breath techniques I cue in an asana practice are merely suggestions. Your body and your doctor know more than I do, so only do what makes sense and is recommended for you.
Your Christmas Presence asana practice helps relax and rejuvenate the body during the holidays, or any busy time. This restorative practice is 23 minutes long and is intended to ready the body for yoga nidra meditation. You can make this a longer restorative practice by pausing the video after you position yourself for each pose and holding poses for 5 – 10 minutes each.
Props: Mat, bolster/cushion, a blanket or two, a block or large book and an eye pillow.
Smudging, or allowing the smoke from a sage bundle or palo santo stick into a room, is sooooo calming. The scent is beautiful, and it tends to rid the room of other odors that may be lingering. Smudging also helps cleanse the energy in a room by releasing negative ions. These negative ions attach to the positive ions generated by germs, mold, allergens and, believe it or not, electronics. The scent also combats negative and charged emotions. One website notes that smudging is like taking an energetic shower 🙂 So a little smudging a day keeps the worry and stress away!
Benefits of smuding: