You’ve probably heard this one before—“Let your breath be your guide.” But what exactly does that mean?
Here’s the breakdown: as long as you’re breathing, you can hold a pose longer and get a little deeper in stretches. Breathing deep in life helps you get through situations and people you don’t want to deal with but have to because of work obligations, holiday parties, or stressed out people at the grocery store.
Maybe you are one of these stressed out people. That’s okay. But if you notice yourself on the verge of snapping after waiting more than 10 seconds in the grocery line, it’s time we connect you to your life force, your energy, and your breath.
Here are some things you can do that help you breathe deeply during the holidays.
1. Start the day with breath.
When you wake up, don’t immediately take your phone off the charger and start checking emails or seeing how many people “liked” your photos overnight. We are all guilty of this, myself included.
Instead, try this. Wake up. Inhale nice, slow, and deep through the nose using your abdomen, then open the mouth and exhale just as slowly. Repeat three to five times. You’ll notice the difference in your mind and body immediately.
2. Crank out some asana.
Feel like you are wearing your shoulders as earrings? Lower back pain following you around?
Take your tightly wound, scrunched up body to yoga. You might feel like taking a Power yoga class, but what you might need is to restore with Yin. Or bump it up a notch and glide into a delightful Hatha class. Move your body when you feel like you are walking in an invisible coffin.
3. Beat the shopping rush.
Shop now so you can avoid the procrastinator stress of last-minute errands. You might even want to wrap the presents and store them so you can cross “gift purchasing” out from the to-do list.
If you are working for yourself and choose to send holiday cards, buy or create them now, write in them, throw a stamp on, and choose a date on the calendar to send them all out. This is another great item to cross off your list.
4. Choose your battles.
When you feel like you need a break, take one. You don’t have to say yes to all the parties you’re invited to, most especially if doing so only creates schedule and location constraints that result in added anxiety and pressure!
Simply choose which of these get togethers you are truly excited about attending, RSVP yes or no correspondingly to the hosts, and enjoy every precious second of the time you spend with the family and friends present in your soirées of choice.
“Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.” It has basically taken me my whole life until this year to finally understand how true this statement is in all facets of being.
Inner peace and balance for you at this time depend on how well you take control of each situation, how efficiently you manage your time, and, most importantly, how well and how deeply you breathe!
Image Credit: Kelly Snyder / Yogi: J Mauss