The holidays do not have to live up to their reputation of being stressful. There are some very simple and effective ways to minimize feeling exhausted and overwhelmed this time of year, and we here at Black Cat Yoga want to share 5 of our favorite ways to stay balanced and grounded:
1. Stay in the present moment:
It may sound somewhat cliché, but there is great beauty and perfect peace in the present moment. Immerse yourself in the exquisite sights, sounds, smells, and textures of what is happening in the ever-present moment of now. Nestle yourself in the pause that rests in between the moment that just passed and the moment that has yet to come, and let the rest go.
One of the most effective ways to create a greater sense of calm is to breathe deeper and consciously. The next time you feel tense or you notice that your breath is shallow or uneven and sitting high in your chest, take a few full belly breaths and see if you can inhale to the count of 4 and exhale to the count of 5. The calmer the breath is, the calmer the mind will be. The calmer the mind is, the calmer the body will become. The calmer the body becomes, the more space for the breath to move into. See how that works?
3. Legs up the wall yoga posture (Viparita Karani):
"Legs up the wall" is a restorative yoga posture that allows the nervous system to relax and the mind and the body to be at ease. Simply lay down on your back next to a wall and bring your legs up the wall and close your eyes. You might add a soft pillow under your hips and perhaps a blanket under your head for extra support. You can stay in this posture for up to 15 or 20 minutes.
4. Say NO:
It is not uncommon to be overcommited during the holidays. How often do you find yourself saying "yes" when you really wanted to say "no"? The holidays are a perfect opportunity to set and maintain boundaries. Saying "no" to invitations, activities, and financial situations that create inner disharmony and imbalance is liberating and empowering.
5. Be a gift to everyone you meet:
This is our favorite holiday tradition. Be a gift to everyone who enters your life, and to everyone whose life you enter. There is no greater way to experience deep inner peace than to be a source of peace for others. And THIS is the best present of them all, to help return someone back to themselves when they may have forgotten who they really are.