The Yogi’s Guide to Gratitude in Honor of the Holiday Season

For many of us the holiday season is nothing short of stressful.  It seems we’re pulled in a million different directions between the shopping, get-togethers and parties, school events, and elevated social life.  This not only makes it hard to get to the studio to get our practice in, it also makes us forget how wonderful the holiday season can be.  We get so caught up in what we think the holidays should look like that we get depressed or anxious when things fall short of our expectations.

We often hear in our society that you should have a “gratitude attitude” or practice gratitude often, but when things are harried and you are short on time with your holiday to-do list growing longer by the minute how in the world do you have time to express gratitude and thanks?  In my own life I have found the more gratitude you have for the people, situations, and things that already exist in your reality, the more abundance and happiness you draw into each moment.  So, it’s time to truly practice what we strive to achieve in our yoga classes, bringing more gratitude, abundance, and presence into every moment to ensure a holiday season you are sure to remember and cherish in your memories for years to come.

Here are just a few ways to bring gratitude into the bustle and hustle of your yuletide season:

Cleaning – Now I know this is probably no one’s favorite part of the holidays.  Having to get the house ready for guests or move furniture around to put up your seasonal décor can be a big and at times overwhelming chore.  But taking care of your home and the space in which you dwell is a practice of gratitude.  With each table dusted or corner cleaned you are thanking the Universe for the abundance that has already appeared in your life and thus in turn continue to attract further abundance throughout the year ahead.

Cooking – So often we go into the cupboards and check the fridge and declare there is absolutely no food in the house when actually there is plenty of food, just maybe not what we’re in the mood for.  Cooking for the holidays and preparing for a big meal can be a wonderful exercise in gratitude and presence.  The trick is to try and have everything stocked in the home for what you will need at least 24 hours before the holiday so you can enjoy the time with friends and family instead of rushing around last minute.  The goal is to appreciate what already exists in your life, not to have to leave the bubble of the celebration to grab for more.  I know this isn’t always possible, but try and plan so you can truly be present with those you love.

Shopping – Searching for gifts for the people that mean so much to us should be a fun experience.  Remember doing your holiday shopping is in essence an adventure to find that perfect gift that expresses how much love, and appreciation you have, for those incredible people in your life.  It has nothing to do with how much money is spent, but the fact that when you are out and about and rushing from place to place, they are on your list and have had a truly positive affect on you.

Parties – Take the time to have some fun!  Be present, put away the cell phones and enjoy the people you are with at that time.  Be open and accepting of those around you.  Just like in the yoga class, social events have people from every walk of life and each one of them has a story to tell.  Enjoy some sugar or a little drink, just remember to get back to the studio to detox and maintain your health shortly after each event.

Relatives – Throughout the holiday season I see more of my family than I do at any other time of the year.  Family is wonderful in the fact that you have a shared history and great memories from times past.   This group of people has seen you through everything and has a vested interest in where you’re heading.  Try and enjoy this time with them.  Share the best side of yourself – the self-love, discipline, and mindfulness that you have learned from the yoga – and each occasion will be a joyful celebration that adds to the memories you already share.  Family is a gift of the season.

As we head into the kick-off of the holiday hoopla in the US with Thanksgiving approaching this coming Thursday, I wish each and every one of you an incredible time with friends and family.  Take care of yourself, get to class if you can, and have great time!  Celebrate and spread love, peace, and kindness wherever you may go.



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