‘How can I keep my yoga going over the next few weeks?’, many of you have been asking us, in anticipation of the festivities ahead. So, here are a few tips for you…

Remember yoga is not just about asana or a physical practice. For those of you who have been on our courses, you will recall that asana is the third of eight limbs of yoga. If you have not yet developed your own asana practice or even if you have, but are challenged for time or space over the festive period, perhaps consider this a fantastic opportunity to focus on other aspects of yoga.

Are you feeling a bit stressed? Could you spend a few moments on pranayama or breathing techniques? Even just slowing down for a minute or two and focussing on your breathing can make a big difference to how you are feeling. You can do this anywhere, so whether you are at home, staying with family or embracing the sales, pranayama is a very versatile tool.

Are you worrying about all the things you have to do and feeling like you are running from one thing to the next?  Consider choosing one task to do and do it as mindfully as you can. If you are cooking, for example, can you focus on the sounds, smells and tastes of your culinary creativity, rather than stirring the pot on the stove, while mentally running through your to do list? Have a look at the ‘Mindfulness Tips for Everyday’ article from Inspirations Issue 2 for lots more ideas of how to approach every day life more mindfully.

Are you preoccupied with what is lacking in your life? For any of you who have been coming to Teach’s classes or retreats over the past year, you will be familiar with the concept of appreciation. Instead of focussing on all that you do not have, how about appreciating all that you do have; family, friends, opportunities, yoga and above all else, yourself.

Are you approaching the festive season with joy? It is after all a season for celebrating and if you are already feeling a bit drained and lacking enthusiasm, then consider whether you are taking the whole thing way too seriously. If you have children in your life, then perhaps look to them as your teachers and guides. What do they show you about joy and happiness at this time of year? Would you like to you approach the festive season this year in a similar way? Can you do something creative …sing… dance?

Above all, remember that yoga is not just about what you do on your mat, it is about bringing all that yoga is into your everyday life, the festive season included!

Amaryllis Holland, Yoga Teacher, Clinical Psychologist, RHCYT500, D Clin Psy (PhD)

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