Greetings from your friendly neighborhood yoga studio owner at Imbue Yoga. I’m thrilled to offer up some yogic insights in this monthly column, intending to inspire you to take a deep breath and calm the distractions of your monkey mind (not that you’re a monkey, but sometimes our thoughts feel like a jungle!)
If you have a question about yoga, I’ll do my best to answer to my highest ability. Email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org and perhaps your question will be answered here!
Question: I’m feeling overwhelmed by life and the holiday season bogs me down. Is there any yoga practice that can lighten the mood?
Answer: You are very much not alone in feeling down around the holidays. Whether it’s time with family or not spending time with family, financial woes, time crunching, the bombardment of ads and of course the dark & cold weather – all of these things can be challenging to our mood.
How can yoga help? Yoga means “to yoke” or “unite;” uniting your body, mind + spirit or connecting with whatever the divine is to you. Simply by connecting with our breath we are practicing yoga as we are “uniting” our body and mind with awareness. Practicing yoga doesn’t mean you have to put your leg behind your head — or even stand on your head for that matter — a simple act of conscious breathing can bring us into the moment and slow us down.
For the holidays, a nice practice that we can do ANYWHERE (escape to the restroom, perhaps?) is to breathe mindfully with an intention.
Let’s have our intention be gratitude. This practice can take anywhere from 1-5 minutes or longer.
- Sit or stand comfortably with a lengthened spine.
- Close your eyes or focus your gaze softly in front of you
- Bring your awareness to your breathing. Notice the sensations of breathing (lifting of ribs & belly, relaxing shoulders).
- Start to lengthen and deepen your breath
- As you are connecting with your breath, bring your awareness to something you are grateful for: your children, the roof over your head, your job, your pet, the pizza you had for lunch, your favorite movie on Netflix, whatever! Once you connect with something, hold it in your minds eye.
- Consider a few things about your chosen object or person: appearance, feeling in your hands, the smell, the taste. Make it real in your mind.
- Repeat quietly in your mind as you exhale (3 times or more), “I am grateful.”
- Let your intention softly go when you feel complete. Take few moments to notice how you feel before returning to your life.
Have a peaceful and nourishing December. Namaste! P.S. One of the meanings of Namaste is “The spirit in me honors the spirit in you.”
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[Published in the Corcoran News via Corcoran Neighborhood Organization, slightly modified for press]