Wondering what the secret is to staying joyful this season? Relax! Our Tips Make It Easy.
The holiday season has arrived! For most of us, this time of year brings mixed feelings of joy, stress, and exhaustion. But what if there was a way to increase the joy, while keeping the stress and exhaustion at bay?
We asked our favorite yoga teachers, Andrea and Christina Curry of Curry Yoga www.curry-yoga.com , for a few tips that will help us hold on to “happy” so that the season stays bright. We tried it last year and know it works, so read on for their advice!
When we are stressed, our body is in fight or flight mode, which means that all of our systems are on high alert. This is not a mode we are meant to sustain over long periods of time—and definitely not over an entire holiday season. When the holidays do hit, the busyness, to-do lists, and commitments to family and friends keep us in this state quite consistently. Meditation can help.
Andrea and Christina Curry
1. Find the Time to Meditate
Meditation is a time commitment of 5-20 minutes per day. As a yoga teacher, it is our passion to remind you that you can definitely find 20 minutes a day to sit in meditation, but if that sounds like too much, start with 5 minutes every day. The consistency is the important part. Stress and anxiety are habitual reactions, but you can create a new, healthier, calming habit through the practice of meditation. It will create more room for the joy, the hugs, and the laughter – the Merry that the holiday season is all about.
2. Get Started
Starting is often the hardest part, but it doesn’t have to be complicated. Sit in a comfortable position in a place that is quiet. It doesn’t have to be a perfect meditation location…a quiet corner or bathroom will work in a pinch. Sitting cross-legged on a blanket on the floor is the traditional way to sit, however any comfortable seat will do, including sitting in a chair. Grab a cozy throw or blanket, as our bodies tend to cool off when we relax. Have an eye pillow nearby. If you are familiar with essential oils, you can rub a drop of calming oil, such as lavender, between your palms, take a deep breath, and allow the oil to aid in relaxation.
Close your eyes. Notice your breath. Work to lengthen your inhale and your exhale by inhaling for a count of five and exhaling for a count of five. Repeat that three times. We recommend repeating a mantra during your meditation in order to keep your mind focused. The mantra SO HUM means “I am that” and reminds us that we are all connected. Repeat your mantra silently over and over in your mind. Set a timer with a soft alarm for the time you are prepared to sit. Close your eyes and begin your meditation with your mantra. Your mind WILL wander, especially in the beginning. That is completely normal. When you notice your mind wandering, simply bring your focus back to your mantra and do that over and over. It is important not to judge yourself for thinking, and also not to get excited when you are not. This practice is about the practice, not perfection. When your timer chimes, take your eye pillow, lie on your back, and place the pillow over your eyes. Enjoy the deep relaxation that this practice brings and thank yourself for taking such a big step toward self-care.