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The Yogis Survival Guide to Holiday Hoopla

Balancing Joy and Well-Being - By Jen Rene

Reading time: 4 minutes

Navigating the Holiday Hustle with Your Yoga Practice

The holiday season is a time for joy, connection, and celebration. It's a time to cherish family and friends, indulge in festive treats, and embrace the spirit of giving. However, amidst the twinkling lights, bustling shopping malls, and endless gatherings, it's easy to get caught up in the holiday whirlwind and lose sight of your well-being.

Prioritize Self-Compassion

The holidays can be a demanding time, both physically and emotionally. Overindulgence in food and drinks and the stress of shopping, parties, and family gatherings can take a toll on your body and mind. During this time, practicing self-compassion and approaching your yoga practice with kindness and understanding is crucial.

Don't beat yourself up if you miss a practice or two. Life happens, and adjusting your routine to accommodate the holiday season is okay. Just remember to show up for your mat when you can, even if it's just for a few minutes, and choose to do poses that support you and give you energy.

Honor Your Morning Routine

Waking up early to practice yoga can be challenging, especially during the holidays when your schedule is likely disrupted. However, sticking to your morning routine, even if it's just a few days a week, can provide you with a sense of stability and grounding amidst the holiday chaos.

While evenings succumb to holiday obligations, mornings can remain sacrosanct. If waking early proves challenging, sleep in your practice clothes, automate your coffee maker for a steaming cup upon awakening or take a cold shower. Simplify your mornings, allocating more time to your mat and less to stumbling in the dark.

Embrace Shorter Practices

If your holiday schedule is jam-packed, don't feel discouraged. Even a shorter yoga practice can provide significant benefits. Instead of aiming for your usual hour-long session, consider scaling back to a 15- or 20-minute practice. Focus on the essentials – a few Sun Salutations, some standing poses, a few seated poses, and a brief savasana. This shortened practice will still allow you to reap the physical and mental benefits of yoga without feeling overwhelmed or stressed.

Pack Your Yoga Gear

If you're traveling for the holidays, be sure to pack your yoga mat and practice clothes. The challenge of practicing amidst family and travel intensifies without the essentials. Squeeze them in your bag; you’ll be happy you did. A portable practice can be a lifeline, providing a sense of stability and routine amidst the unfamiliar surroundings of travel and the chaos of the holidays.

Find a Dedicated Practice Space

When visiting family or friends, look for a quiet place to practice undisturbed. A spare bedroom, a corner of the living room, or even the bathroom can work.

If you're struggling to find a quiet space, consider practicing outdoors. A park, a backyard, or even a balcony can provide a peaceful setting for your practice. Fresh air and natural surroundings can enhance the benefits of your yoga practice and help you connect with the present moment.

Practice with a Buddy

If you have trouble motivating yourself to practice, try practicing with a friend or family member. Having a practice buddy can provide accountability and support, making you more likely to stick with your routine.

You can also find online yoga classes or recordings that you can do at home. This can be a great option if you're traveling or don't have enough time to make it to a studio.

Set Strong Intentions

The holidays are a time to reflect on what's important to you. Set some intentions for your yoga practice during this time. Consider the core seasonal values of joy, love, peace, gratitude, giving, and kindness to others. Now, ponder the profound lessons your yoga practice has imparted in cultivating these virtues. Your practice serves as a platform for embodying these qualities, acting as a preparation for the challenges and triumphs that await you in the journey of your life.

Remember, Yoga is Always Available

Remember that your yoga practice is perpetually accessible, extending beyond the confines of your mat. Whether you're navigating a bustling mall or participating in a family gathering, opportunities to practice abound. Take a deliberate pause, inhale deeply, seek a moment of solitude, or step outside for a rejuvenating breath of fresh air. The skills honed in your practice are at your disposal to navigate holiday stress, even if your mat time is less extensive than you desire. Trust in your practice—you've been preparing for these moments throughout the entire year, and you know precisely how to navigate them.

Jen Rene

Jen René is an Ashtanga Yoga and Pilates teacher making yoga fun and accessible to all.