• Bianca Johnson

Our Yogi Guide to the Holiday Season

The holiday season is in full swing. Between shopping, decorating, cooking and spending time with loved ones we can find it difficult to cut out time for our practice of yoga. As many of us know the practice of yoga does not exist solely on the mat, our journey with yoga truly begins in our lives off of the mat. So we've put together a few ideas about how you can include the practice of yoga in your life off of the mat this holiday season!

1. Ahimsa - Non-Violence

At face value this yogic principle is about not committing violent acts. But practicing non-violence includes not speaking negatively to ourselves or to others. We know that sometimes the stress of the holidays can get the best of us. Here we encourage you to use love and kindness in your thoughts, words and actions this holiday season. Allowing everything you do to come from the heart! For some of us this practice of Ahimsa can also translate into a vegetarian lifestyle. This can sometimes be difficult when we think about the traditions we enjoy sharing with our families at meal times. To help with the transition we are including a link to our favorite vegetarian holiday meals! Lentil Loaf - By Plant Based Gabriel, when I make this recipe I add caramelized onions and I substitute ketchup for tomato paste! Easy Vegan Quinoa Stuffing - By Veggies Don't Bite this recipe adds a totally unique spin on traditional stuffing. I enjoy this so much that I make it as a whole meal sometimes instead of just a side dish! Vegetarian Gravy - By All Recipes, when I make this at home I omit the soy sauce. You can add more/less vegetable stock to this recipe depending on how think you like your gravy. I generally season mine with rosemary and not sage but you can use whatever you like!

2. Saucha - Purity/Cleanliness

We often think of this as our personal hygiene but this principle is also applied to our homes, the space that we practice in, and the foods that we eat. When our physical space is clean it promotes clarity of our minds and supports our mental health. With the chaos of decorating, cooking, wrapping and other holiday activities it is pretty easy for our physical space to get out of order. With all the craziness clouding our minds the last thing we need is more mental blockages! Do yourself a favor and set aside time for tidying up even if it means you have to skip out on a concert or show up late for a work party, your brain will thank you! In addition to the cleanliness of our external we also want maintain the cleanliness of our internal physical bodies by consuming foods that are healthy, non-GMO, organic, raw, etc. that can be quickly eliminated, instead of adding toxins to our bodies. This can be challenging, especially with all of the super tempting holiday treats! Here are our favorite "cleaner" dessert recipes to make this holiday season! Healthy Peanut Butter Balls - By Veggies Don't Bite, these are my absolute favorite (and I may or may not have a stock pile of them in my freezer at home), I can almost garuntee that anyone you share these with won't even know that there is no refined sugar! 3 Ingredient Brownies - By Delightful Mom Food this recipe can be a bit tricky, you want to make sure your bananas are SUPER ripe or these will be a bit bitter. You of course have the option to add maple syrup or honey to the batter to sweeten it up a bit of you choose. I like to add a handful of dark chocolate chips (I like the texture this provides). Chocolate Cherry Dessert Bites - By A Couple Cooks, these are a total crowd-pleaser and anytime I bring these to a gathering people practically beg me for the recipe! I have made these with cranberries instead of raspberries and I have made these fruitless, both are GREAT choices!

3. Aparigraha - Non-Posessiveness

This principle relates to how we acquire and interact with both money and materialistic things. Often this practice is linked with the concept of minimalism and the idea that by not owning excessive belongings we allow ourselves to experience a sense of clarity. We can practice aparigraha by sharing our abundance with those who are in need. Some ways you can choose to do this might be by donating money to your local Salvation Army when they are ringing bells at the grocery store, doing inventory of your kitchen and find food that is nearing expiration to donate to your local rescue mission or sort through your closet to find clothes that you can donate to a local church. If you don't have any extra money, food or clothing to give this holiday season remember that the greatest gift we can give is our time, there are plenty of local charities that would be extremely grateful for your help during the hectic holiday season!

4. Santosa - Contentment

If you are anything like me both Black Friday Sales and after Christmas sales can be pretty enticing. I always feel like there is extra space in my closet for one more sweater or space in my home for one more holiday decoration. As we discussed above this excess can create quite a bit of mental clutter in a time when we REALLY don't need or want it. So this holiday season instead of acquiring more items for yourself, try practicing being grateful and content in all that you already have! Not only does this help us with our practice of aparigraha but also being grateful has many benefits to our mind, body and spirit! Want to learn more? Check out last months blog post Gratitude: The Medicine for the Body, the Mind and the SOUL!

5. Asteya - Non-Stealing

Of course this means that we do not take items that don’t belong to us from a store or from someone else but here we are going to talk about not stealing from ourselves. This seems almost like a paradox but it is a necessary practice, especially during the holidays. As our time and energy is taken by an abundance of holiday activities, we must maintain our self-care rituals in order to keep ourselves well and not deplete ourselves! When we steal much needed time and energy from ourselves we steal our peace too, which is the exact opposite of what we want to do during the holidays! Prioritize yourself by scheduling an hour each day of undisturbed time for self care! Looking for a great self care practice for this holiday season? Join us for our Holiday Restorative Series on Tuesday nights in December!!

What ways do you intend to integrate Yoga in your holiday traditions this year? Drop us a comment and let us know!

Wishing you all peace and blessings this holiday season!

In love, light and gratitude,

The Full Lotus Yoga Team

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