What are your excuses during the holidays for missing your yoga? Too many parties? Too much shopping? Not enough time? Busy, busy, busy? What are the things that get in your way and keep you from getting on your mat? What if I told you that getting on your mat is exactly what you need to sail smoothly through the holidays?This newsletter is designed to inspire you to stay on your mat this winter season and to not let the Grinch steal your practice (and maybe fall in love with the Grinch along the way).
Here is the number one reason you won’t want to give up your practice this December: this is a gift for you!I have read a lot about self-love. I have worked a long time to understand it. This year it finally just settled in my bones and I got it. Self-love is more than getting a new sweater, getting a massage, drinking your favorite coffee or gin, or whatever it is you do to treat yourself. Self-love is something larger than that. It was in the loving-kindness meditations that I discovered this deeper understanding of caring for yourself first (kind of like the oxygen masks we are supposed to put on ourselves and then on our children with the loss of cabin pressure). This quote from Sharon Salzburg’s book Lovingkindness: the Revolutionary Art of Happiness helped me understand, “You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection… Love for others without the foundation of love for ourselves becomes a loss of boundaries, codependency, and a painful and fruitless search for intimacy.” Essentially, staying on your mat this holiday season allows you to love and care for yourself. We can be clear with our boundaries (saying no to the extra 30 minutes at a party or no to the extra piece of peppermint bark or no to the toxic gatherings we don’t really need to attend). We can show up for the holiday parties, the small talk, the family dinners full of self-love and can enjoy each moment and each person just as they are.
Reason number two: fight the winter blues!We all know we feel better after yoga- whatever the style may be. Somehow the 1-hour vacation from our daily lives and our to-do lists give us an entirely new perspective on life. If we have situations that create tension or ill feelings over the holidays, our practices help us release these tensions so we can find a new way to host the emotional experiences we have around the holidays. Our friend Timothy Burgin at Yoga Basicsshares this, “Unexpressed emotions become stored and held in the body and, over time, create physical tightness, stress, tension, and sometimes pain. Yoga is the perfect tool to release emotional tension in the body and to experience the healing that comes with this release.” Wouldn’t it be great to go into the holiday season without fear of those winter blues biting you in the ass again? Why not take the time to find a deep release so you can walk into your family dinner with a clear head and heart?
Reason number three to keep the Grinch at bay: heightened immune system.You may wonder why this is important. The holiday season brings with it closed doors and windows, cold air outside, hot air inside, sniffles and colds, not to mention lots of hugs from relatives near and far. Science has actually proven that yoga can increase your immune system by decreasing inflammation in the body. This note from Jason Crandell (and a link to hisimmune boosting sequence) says it all. “It’s not a high-intensity practice [that works] – it’s a healing, nurturing, immune boosting yoga practice. The poses encourage relaxation, reduce stress, and facilitate circulation throughout your whole body. These are the three most effective things that yoga asana can do to help support your immune system.” Guess what? That’s all we offer here. So if you want to stave off the winter cold from all that holiday hugging and handshaking, get on your mat!
Reason number 4: Sometimes the Grinch just needs some fun, community and compassion to make that heart growlike it does at the end of Dr. Suess’ book. This year for fun and community building, we are offering a Love for the Grinch Winter Yoga Challenge.If you have trouble staying inspired, come practice with your friends and your favorite teachers. We will have a chart for you to fill in each practice- you get to give yourself a gold star! If you attend 24 classes in the 31 days of December you will achieve enlightenment just in time for the new year! (Just kidding! We will have a little prize for all who play along. For those of you who attend 24 classes in 31 days, you receive a $24 voucher for classes, long sleeve shirt of your choice or one of our amazing monthly workshops in the new year.)
From all of us here at Greenville Yoga we hope you sail smoothly through the holidays into the new year. If you feel like a Grinch, may you take time to feel fully loved. And if you know a Grinch, may you offer them your deepest kindness and care this season. We are incredibly grateful for your love and support this year. We wouldn’t be here without you!
With a heart full of love,
Liz and the Greenville Yoga Inspired Teachers
(most of us pictured above)