The holiday season. Family. Friends. Festivals. Lights. Christmas lights and Christmas shopping. Gatherings. The holiday season. Busy. Overwhelmed. Never enough time. Nostalgia. Loneliness for some.
Each year, we can count on the holiday season to grace us with her presence and to bring with her also a myriad of emotions. Some happy, some sad, all momentary and sure to pass. And like many moments in our lives, our yoga practice can help us, providing tools, awareness, and sacred space to return to what matters for us, and to us, in the hustle-bustle of hurried shoppers and overly stuffed bellies.
For me, one of the greatest gifts of my yoga practice is the joy I experience. Not every day, and certainly not every posture, but often enough that I deem my practice responsible for cultivating any sense of joy. My favorite are the heart-openers, bridge, full wheel, and fish. Once I stop resisting my pent up, tight shoulders and relax my neck back to the support of the ground, I am liberated. My heart is open and vulnerable and swelling with emotion – with joy.
Sometimes the joy dissipates on my drive home and transition back to the reality of making dinner and grocery shopping and folding the laundry. But more often than not, the joy remains, long enough to smile when I hear a favorite song on the radio, or when I allow the warmth of sautéed garlic and onion I am cooking to sweep over me. I am alive and I am present and for today this is enough.
During the holiday season, the season that has the potential to evoke the most joy, I hope to hold on to these sensations. I hope to carry the feeling of lightness, vulnerability and brightness with every holiday card I write, jingle bell I hear, and Christmas cookie I taste.