"Mat Slacking" is a Holiday Thing
It is so hard to be consistent on the Mat during the holiday season. I am hosting my spouse’s family in my home for Christmas. While its usually no big deal my family and I had made the decision to refurbish some of the house that was looking…well, shabby. We needed some paint, new hardware and, even a new kitchen floor. We started to do some of the work in August cutting away at small jobs each night. This time of year, I am grading my students’ final projects and of course working on social media. It’s coming along, but my Yoga Mat is experiencing loneliness, and my body, mind, and spirit are seemingly on that downward slumping slope. I decided to write this as a way of rectifying my own lonely mat and my seemingly gloomy spirit along with helping you in getting back into the swing of joy and Mat Rejuvenation regardless of tireless days of holiday traffic and riff-raff.
The one thing I do more than anything else, even if I have skipped a few days of Yoga is to Ground. The more grounded I am the more likely I will carve out time for my practice. Grounding only takes a few minutes of time and centers you into a calm and present state. Grounding allows me not to spin in circles with my tasks and to actually get my work done with efficiency. Usually, after I ground, I start right in on the mat and do my best with 10-15 minutes of practice.
Here are some ways to ground:
- Hug a tree!! It is incredible what this can do...just try it!
- “Earthing” Walk barefoot outside on the grass for 3-5 minutes taking note of the sensation on your feet and feel the ground beneath you!
- Engage in Visualization Techniques that put your feet into or on the ground
- Connect with nature
- Do any sort of repetitive motion like drumming or walking
- Employ Crystal Energies into your days like that of the gems in our Grounding Pouch
- Use Aromatherapy for grounding: Essential Oils (root oils) of Ginger, Vetiver, and Patchouli are excellent!
- Engage in Tree Pose
If you are getting back on the mat or your practices have been waning it may be time to rejoin the mind and body with the breath. This is the very union the Yogis are talking about! I truly believe (I have seen it with my own eyes) that persons practicing asana may forget to breathe if their mind is on something like their To-Do List. Practicing Yogic breathing or Pranayama techniques and staying with your breath will silence your mind, keep you present, and strengthen your yoga practice. Once you realize your state of strength and calm it is likely you will believe that you do have some extra time for your Yoga practices which will give your immune system and energy the boost it needs to stay healthy and unstressed this holiday season along with keeping you on the Mat.
Here are three techniques and video links I have utilized as reminders to remember my breathing.
- Breath of Fire "A heat-inducing, dynamic exercise like "Breath of Fire" is simple, fast-clearing, cleansing, and energizing.
- Ujjayi Pranayama is a somewhat softer, whispering breath also called Ocean Breath. It's compared to the sound of the waves coming to shore.
- Kumbhaka Pranayama is a kind of rhythmic symmetrical breath retention.
Don’t Become Your Own Worst Enemy
In the perpetual chaos of life sometimes less mat time leads (me) perhaps all of us down the low self-esteem and ultimately self-centric rabbit hole. Keeping even a simple practice of 10-15 minutes a day will bring us back to a state of mindfulness. In that mindfulness, it is much easier to get a solid grip on what the holidays are really about. Staying healthy and joyous in a practice that centers us in acceptance is truly the best gift we can give ourselves and the people around us. We can be absorbed in spirit and the joy of family, cooking, and friendships with a sense of calm. We can experience spirit without indulgence. So, banish the negative self-talk and find your way back to accompanying your mat this holiday season!
Other Stuff to do for Holiday Joy:
- Make a point to give to others (Give to a charity or set up a charity fund this holiday)
- See family (Make a special trip to see family that you have not been in contact for a while)
- Help a neighbor (Take a rake or snow shovel over to your neighbor’s yard and give them a hand)
Sat Nam ਸਤਿ ਨਾਮੁ
Soorya Kirti Kaur @ The Yama Yoga Store
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