Tag Archives: whole Life yoga

A Yoga-Centered Holiday

Mike Manning has been a healthy living and fitness aficionado for ten years , but he started practicing yoga two years ago at his wife’s urging.  He uses yoga as a tool to help approach life and relationships in a healthy, balanced manner.

While we all love the holiday season, this time of year also serves its fair share of stress. With all of the shopping, extra get-togethers, cooking, visiting, and coordinating, there is often little time to relax and enjoy. Even though these holiday festivities and responsibilities are enjoyable activities and are most often associated with positive thoughts and energy, the truth is our bodies cannot differentiate between positive and negative stress. So, whether you are feeling it or not, your body is likely welcoming an additional guest this season, and I don’t mean your favorite aunt.

Whether you are planning your family’s holiday meal or not, you deserve a holiday season that is happy and bright. So, how are you going to avoid the fatigue that is so often the season of merrymaking and enjoying? My best advice is to put yoga on your daily to do list and make it a part of your holiday tradition. Follow these simple steps, and enjoy a happy, yogic holiday.

1. Make time every day. While you may not have an hour to set aside every day, try to set aside 15 to 30 minutes to de-stress and center yourself through meditation. Scheduling this time into your day before it even begins is the best way to ensure that you will get to enjoy this time. Whether you need to complete your practice in the early morning or late evening, do not neglect this time. Spend this time breathing deeply, focusing, and centering yourself. Your practice is important. It is a part of you. I make sure to take some time every morning to meditate and center myself and have found it is a phenomenal start to my day.

2. Create a yoga sanctuary. During this time of year especially, our minds and bodies (let alone our houses) often become cluttered with the hustle and bustle. Make sure you take time to find your “sanctuary” within your home. Find a room in your home where you can separate yourself from noise and clutter. Dim the lights and light a few candles and relax into your practice. Consider writing in a journal reflecting on how you are feeling and listen to soothing playlists.

3. Let your practice overflow into your life. Nurturing yourself enables you to nurture those around you. So, be committed to your practice and let the peace you find there overspill into your holiday season. Showing your gratitude and thankfulness toward your family and friends is one of the most rewarding gifts of the holidays. Making gifts very personal to each person on your list is another great way to reflect on your relationships and to help others experience the peace and joy you have found in your practice. For our 1st anniversary my wife gave me a personalized piece of wall art that had a tree on it with out initials carved in it. She got this from a gift-giving site called RedEnvelope that has very customizable gifts for loving couples. This art still hangs in our yoga room and is a symbol of our bond and relationship. These types of gifts are the best to think about when trying to find something memorable for a loved one.

4. Maintain a healthy diet. While it is easy to overindulge during the holidays, overeating and being glutinous only adds more stress to your body. Be selective of what you indulge in (but do let yourself have a treat). Focus on the time spent together rather than just the food of the holidays.

While the holiday season is very much about giving to others, don’t forget to give back to yourself too. Listen to your body and maintain your practice throughout Thanksgiving and the rest of the holiday season, and see what a difference it makes in your holiday. Let your practice transcend your mat and enter your home and holiday.

Come visit Whole Life Yoga in Seattle, and check out Tracy Weber’s author page for information about the Downward Dog Mysteries series, available January 8, 2014.  MURDER STRIKES A POSE is available for preorder now from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Whole Life Yoga, and other retailers!

Five Steps to Your Ideal Home Yoga Retreat

This week’s blog entry was written by guest author Christine Stump. Check out Christine’s wonderful blog at http://yogaguide.wordpress.com/

Christine Stump, Warrior Pose

When you think of a yoga retreat, do you think of bamboo, waterfalls and bathrobes? Drop some cucumber slices in your water and pull up a chair: just five factors determine your ideal home yoga retreat.

With a home retreat, you reverse your priorities and emphasize the very things you’re usually trying to squeeze in. Flip your priorities for a while, focus on morning and evening meditation, include some pampering.

Five things determine your ideal self-retreat: home situations, budget, work integration, ideal practice schedule, and menu.

  1. Home situation: If you live alone, how do you want your space arranged for retreat? If living with others, include them in your plans. Do you want to plan special activities with each one of your children during this time, so they learn self-care as well? Or do you need to arrange outside care for your elders so they don’t miss medications, baths or meals? Have a conversation with your roommate or partner to let them know these days are special, that you want a clean, organized, media free space.  Solicit their participation in common areas, and communicate they can’t count on you for late night drinks.
  2. Budget: Will your usual grocery and yoga class budget be plenty for what you have in mind? Do you want to set aside extra for a massage, time at a spa, special linens or a personal chef? Your retreat can be as simple or elaborate as you make it, but the simplest experiences can be most elegant. Candles, plush towels and great robe may be luxurious treats.
  3. Work integration: Will you take time off work or school?  Or will you take your retreat time concurrent with work and commit to coming home on time and bringing your practices with you to work. Perhaps you can close the door and meditate for 15 minutes at lunch or take that after work yoga class to make sure you leave on time.
  4. Practice schedule: What is your ideal yoga day? Do you go to class at the studio every day? Take a workshop at the weekend? Practice for two hours a day? Vinyasa practice in the morning with restorative in the afternoon? You can create your schedule any way you desire. Your schedule creates a container for your experience, so commit to whatever you choose. Include journaling and outdoor time.
  5. Menu: Plan healthy meals for your retreat. Decide which options you’ll include: fresh green juices, ten servings of leafy greens, all organic, all vegetarian or fresh fruit every day. Commit to drinking plenty of water and include anti-oxidant rich teas and vegetables.

Once your retreat days come, relax into the space you’ve created. Allow yourself to let go of your routine priorities and prioritize your practice for this time. The structure you’ve created will help you reset when your habits kick in (which they will, over and over). Give yourself to this process and let us know how it goes in the comments below!

Come visit Whole Life Yoga in Seattle!