Busy happy December is truly around the corner and so is my next Yoga event: Yoga & Live Piano by night. An evening where we will take the time to stop, to rest, to be conscious so that we can feel more and think less. Feel the tunes of the piano, feel the sensations in our physical body and feel life when it is as it is. Read more here and sign up (Danish only).
This is basically what yoga is about for me and something that especially mediation helps me practice on a daily basis. I practice "stop - breathe - feel" throughout the day and I have other small practices. I also have intentions of establishing a daily seated meditation but to be honest, I still haven't managed to make it a lasting habit. When I sit, I sit for 5-10 minutes just upon awakening and I concentrate (1st step of meditation). I concentrate on feeling my breathe, feeling my body and feeling my life-force/energy/qi/prana. It's so calming.
It's also very hard. Mainly because my practical mind wants to start the day, the planning, the thinking, the doing. So thoughts they come and go like clouds on a very very windy day... I let them come, I let them go, and I observe. Then back to concentrating on my breathe & my body.
Practice practice practice!
This Holiday Season: Let's practice & honor the union of body, mind & spirit
Don't you think December is just perfect for more yoga? This holiday season, I personally want to be more conscious, appreciate more moments and practice+honor 'the union of body, mind & spirit' (this is one interpretation of the word 'Yoga' that translates into union or unite).
My favorite online meditation community Wildmind must have read my thoughts as I just received their newsletter. Besides from tips to stay calm and positive during the holiday season (some of which I share below) their newsletter contained a 31 days meditation challenge AND I JUST SIGNED UP. So excited to "establish a Rock-Solid Daily Meditation Practice in 31 days".
Read more and sign up here (It’s suitable for beginners!).
I'll be sharing my meditation experiences later in December and today Mark Tillotson from the Wildmind Community has allowed me to share some of the exclusive mindfulness tips from their newsletter. Read below and start practicing!
Tips for surviving Holiday Stress
With love from Wildmind.org - Buddhist Meditation
The holiday season can be a perfect storm of stressors: financial strain, crowded malls, striving for perfection when we’re entertaining or buying gifts, travel, over-indulgence in food and alcohol, dealing with seldom-seen relatives, and for some of us being on our own while it seems everyone else is merrymaking.
This is where meditation comes in really handy! It’s been shown to reduce stress, so that we can feel at least a little calmer when the world around us is going into a consumeristic frenzy. It helps to reduce depression, too, for those who find that the holiday season is a downer. It promotes joy and other positive emotions. And it helps boost empathy and kindness, which is a mercy when you’re dealing with your drunk, racist uncle.
Don’t just do something, sit there!
If you don’t have a meditation practice already, you might think that the holiday season is a bad time to start, and if you already have a practice, it’s tempting, when things get busy, to stop meditating. But regular meditation doesn’t have to take a lot of time. A five or ten minute meditation is enough to help us bring a bit more calm and balance into our lives. Start (or keep) sitting!
Keep coming back to compassion
Keep reminding yourself that all those people you tend to get annoyed by are just like you. They want to be happy and don’t like suffering. And, just like you, they don’t experience as much happiness as they’d like and encounter way too much suffering for comfort. Bear this in mind, and you may find that you’re just a little gentler and more understanding with people. The reduced conflict will reduce your stress levels.
Don’t stress out about stressing out! When you lose your patience, remember that we all slip up. When you feel frazzled, remember that this is the normal human response to being overloaded. When you find you’re getting down on yourself or things are hard, place a hand gently on your heart and say, “It’s OK. I care about you and want you to be happy. I forgive you.”
Be kind in crowds
When you’re in a crowded mall, it’s easy to get stressed by how slowly everyone is moving. Try repeating “May we all be well and happy” as you navigate the throng. It’ll help displace some of those “My god, could these people move any slower!” thoughts.
Take a breath
Get used to coming back to your breathing. Paying attention to the sensations of your breathing helps you to let go of stress-inducing thoughts, which allows you to dial back on the adrenaline. You can take a few mindful breaths while you’re standing in line, or while on an escalator or in an elevator, or as a mini-break while cooking or wrapping gifts.
Somewhere in the boxed set of Game of Thrones videos you’re probably giving to a loved one, it says “Valar Morghulis” — everyone must die. Although that might seem like a depressing thought at a time of the year that’s supposed to be about celebration, you’re actually more likely to appreciate people you care about, and to be patient with people you have difficulty with, if you remember that our time together on this planet is short.
Wildmind Buddhist Meditation
Wildmind’s mission is to benefit the world by promoting mindfulness and compassion through the practice of Buddhist meditation - www.wildmind.org