by Laura McCorry
Everyone knows the holidays can be a stressful time of year. Combining multiple social engagements, the expectation of gift giving, and seeing your relatives is enough to set most people’s nerves on edge. But it doesn’t have to be that way!
Yoga encourages us to continually check in with the present moment. “What is happening right now?” Yoga One head teacher Amy Caldwell likes to ask. It’s easy to become unsatisfied thinking about the past or anxious thinking about the future. Present moment awareness uses meditation and pranayama (breath control) to bring our emotional selves back into balance.
To encourage balance in all things, even our giving, here’s a non-traditional holiday gift guide for the yogi in all of us:
1. Spend quality time with the ones you love. It doesn’t get any simpler or better than this. Love can’t be bought or wrapped – it can only be shared. Sit down to a meal, play on the floor with the kids or the dog, go for a long walk. In this age of increasing digital connection, it’s good to remember the joy of being present in person. Your presence is the gift.
2. Create or purchase an experience gift. After basic needs are met, more material things do not necessarily increase happiness. When you provide an experience, you can still have the pleasure of gift giving without adding to your loved one’s possessions. This can be anything from tickets to a play or concert, a good old fashioned coupon book, or the even the gift of yoga (our favorite!)
3. Encourage minimalism, give chocolate. Consumable gifts are enjoyable but won’t take up space on a closet shelf for years to come (though eaten in excess, they may land on the thighs). Good examples include a gift certificate for dinner at a favorite restaurant, a subscription to a CSA or DIY meal service like Blue Apron, a bottle of wine or a favorite beer, the list goes on! (You can find award-winning Beardsman Brewery local beer at Yoga One on December 12th)
4. Write a letter of support. It’s important to tell someone how you feel, yet writing it down can sometimes be even more powerful. Thank them for taking the time to listen. Congratulate them on achieving a goal, having a baby, being an awesome person. Support their personal development. Encourage the yogis you know to deepen their practice by participating in the Yoga One Teacher Training.
5. Give Back. Many charitable organizations rely on end of year donations to fund their services and programs throughout the year. Seva Yoga is the practice of selfless service without the expectation of reward. You can volunteer your time, add a charity to your wish list, buy some extra groceries for your local food pantry, or donate yourself. You can even select a charity to benefit from your web browsing and shopping through Amazon Smile or Goodsearch.
It’s the thought, grounded in present moment awareness which is then consciously acted upon, that counts! Whatever you decide to give this holiday season, let it spring from a place of balance and love. From all of us at Yoga One, to all of you, wishing you good health and much happiness!
Yoga and Laura had an on-again-off-again relationship from 2004 until 2009 when they decided to move in together and there’s been no looking back since. Passionate about both yoga and writing, Laura loves to introduce others to the joys and benefits of yoga and healthy living.