This week’s blog entry was written by guest author Katie Burns. Katie is a graduate of Whole Life Yoga’s 200 hour yoga teacher training program and a student in our advanced teacher training program. She can be contacted at email@example.com.
As this holiday season approaches, many of us increase our doing. There are cards to write, gifts to buy, homes to decorate, parties to attend, and many other events and tasks demanding our attention and energy. We participate in many of these activities because we care deeply about the people in our lives, and the holidays present an opportunity to let them know that we love them. We become so busy that some of us begin to cut back in other areas. We sleep fewer hours each night. We run non-stop from work to activity to activity. We buy new underwear because we have three weeks’ worth of dirty laundry in the hamper, and it’s faster to buy new undergarments than to go to the laundry mat. However, this constant state of doing and cutting back our healthy habits may not be the only option for making the holidays special.
During my early twenties, I moved to Chicago to volunteer with an inner-city teaching program. After a brief stint of student teaching summer school, come September I quickly found myself with a second grade class of my own. I felt for these new students. They were stuck with me, a brand new teacher who wasn’t sure what she was doing those first few months. To compensate for my lack of experience, I worked hard. I stayed up late and woke up early to grade papers, write lesson plans, and acquire materials for projects since this low-income school had limited resources. I wanted to give my students the best second grade year that I could. I felt exhausted daily, but I believed that it was worth it.
Then one night, on a fluke (or likely due to exhaustion), I went to bed early knowing the next day would be a struggle since I wouldn’t be fully prepared. I slept for eight hours that night. When I went to school the next day, I discovered that even though I was less prepared, I felt energized. I was flexible and had more patience with my students. I noticed that my enjoyment in working with these kiddos increased. I was actually a better teacher. It seemed that by taking care of myself, I could roll with the punches and see the joy in the small moments. The rest of the year, I made it a priority to get more sleep. I learned that I needed to let go of doing in order to really be present with my students.
As we prepare for the holidays this year, I encourage you to continue the activities that allow you to be present with the ones you love. Go to bed early. Attend that yoga class that you’ve been eyeing. Take ten minutes to meditate even if it involves hiding from your family by staying in the bathroom for a mini-meditation post-shower. By letting go of the “need” to do, you may find that you are more peaceful being around loved ones.
Namaste and Happy Holidays,
Come visit Whole Life Yoga in Seattle, and check out Tracy Weber’s author page for information about the Downward Dog Mysteries series. MURDER STRIKES A POSE is available for preorder now from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Whole Life Yoga, and other retailers!