The holiday season is fast approaching and before we know it this year will be over. It is easy to lose yourself over Christmas and New Years with the temptation to party and overindulge. In the western world, holidays are often associated with drinking alcohol, eating until our pants burst and being wasteful through our consumerism.
However, holidays can be spent consciously and used to elevate ourselves spiritually. That is not to say that we shouldn’t eat, drink and be merry. But it’s a suggestion that we can mindfully engage with these holidays by incorporating various practices to make them more fulfilling, vibrant and sacred.
Mainstream media often presents Christmas to us in a way that supports a lot of mindless consumption and stress. Christmas does not have to be a frenzied occasion, it is a holiday that holds the potential for an abundance of connection and giving. While we don’t have to implement everything on the following list, it’s important that we try our best to move consciously towards more thoughtful ways of living. Here are some ways you can approach Christmas with mindfulness:
- Christmas is an opportunity to spend time with loved ones and celebrate life, however family occasions can sometimes be testing and draining. Remember to tap into your heart space and have compassion for those around you.
- Focus on practising presence by switching off your devices and going offline.
- The holiday season is often fast-paced, so make sure to schedule in time for yourself to recharge with the help of Yoga and Pranayama practices. Try this Quick Relax Yoga Nidra or simply tune into your breath with our Healthy Breath Relaxation
- Christmas is a time for gratitude. Carve out some time for yourself to tap into what you’re appreciative for, whether that be in the form of a simple gratitude list or a meditation spent concentrating on what you’re thankful for, observing the bodily sensations that arise when one taps into gratitude.
- Decorate your space minimally, avoiding plastic and only purchasing ornaments that can be reused for future occasions.
- Connect with the spirit of giving, but in thoughtful, mindful ways. Make your own presents and wrapping paper. Shop ethically, low-waste and locally for your gifts, or at least invest in things that will last. Consider donating to organisations you care about.
- Donate unwanted presents to charity shops.
- Try not to overindulge in rich, artery-clogging foods. Instead cook a plant-based Christmas dinner, skipping the traditional meat centre-dish. Shop for your ingredients from local farmers markets or food stalls if they’re available to you. Eat mindfully and in moderation, chewing each bite slowly and with gratitude. Acknowledging the processes this food gone through in order to make it to your plate.
The mainstream tradition of New Years usually involves consuming substances that are toxic to our bodies and sleep deprivation. However one can instead opt to approach New Years as a very spiritually potent time for setting intentions and creating change.
- Moving into a New Year consciously can set you up for success. Of course one shouldn’t wait till New Years is upon them to start implementing positive change in their lives. However, this is a holiday that celebrates setting new goals for the year ahead, so what a perfect opportunity to do so! With a whole collective of people focusing on activating transformation within themselves, how could you not want to do the same?
- Have a reflective journal session. Relish in the sweet moments and achievements this past year has seen. Write down what you are leaving behind and what you are taking with you into the New Year.
- If unsure as to what you want this next year to hold then dig deep with a meditation practice. Observe yourself, become the witness and allow for answers to come forth with our Inner Silence Meditation.
- Check in with yourself to make sure that your aspirations for the New Year are specific, achievable and not as a result of any external expectations of you.
Come to Anahata Yoga Retreat to support yourself these holidays in a spiritual environment surrounded by nature and like-minded people. Enjoy nourishing food, a low technology environment and relaxation practises. Check out our upcoming holiday retreats during Christmas and New Years.