How to establish an intentional practice to help calm the holiday chaos
This time of year, more so than others, can be overly busy. And while keeping a consistent yoga practice may seem like you're just adding to your to-do list, it can serve to keep you centered, focused, and grounded amidst the chaos.
One way to bring this grounding intention into your practice is through yoga's four-part model for healing/learning: Heyam, Hetu, Hanam, and Upayam.
Heyam (hay-um) are the symptoms that you are wanting yoga to help with. Hetu (hay-two) are the causes of those symptoms. Upayam (ooh-pie-yum) are the means to the goal. Hanam (ha-num) is the goal. And, while yoga's only true goal is to calm the mind, there are usually other issues that also need to be addressed in order to achieve this calmness. For example, if your symptom is an aching back, and you know that the cause of this is a certain repetitive movement at work, then your goal is to alleviate your back pain, and the yogic tools you choose should not only counteract what is causing the pain but, in turn, should also work toward calming the mind.
So, what are some of the Upayam of Yoga?
Asana - Movement
Pranayama - Breath
Bandhas - Locks
Mudras and Nyasa - Gestures
Mantras - Sounds
Bhavana - Visualizations
Kriya Yoga - Mindful Action
Sraddha - Faith
Yajna - Rituals
Yatra - Pilgrimage or Journey
Sanga - Community
Any combination of these Upayam can be used for just about any goal you can imagine. And, since this is the time of year that many of us start to feel caught up in the whirlwind of the holidays, it is the perfect time to add some tools to your yogic tool belt with the goal of staying grounded.
Experiment with any number of the following Upayam. Try them together or on their own. And then sit with your experience.
Bent-Knee Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
Corpse Pose (Savasana)
Chair Pose (Utkatasana) with arms down
Breath in Asana:
Emphasis on Exhale and/or Exhale Hold
Ujjayi (Ocean Breath)
Brahmari (Bumblebee Breath)
Chin Mudra (tips of thumb and index finger together, extending other three)
Pran Mudra (tips of thumb, ring finger, and pinky together, extend other two)
"Here I Am" or "I Am Here"
"I Am Safe. I Am Grounded. I Am Love."
Tree with Roots
Crystals: Obsidian, Black Tourmaline, Smoky Quartz
Essential Oils: Cedarwood, Frankincense, Myrrh
Off the Mat: Eat Root Vegetables, Walk Barefoot, Forest Walk, Wear Red, Create Daily Rituals
And here is a special gift just for you! Enjoy this Guided Yoga Nidra any time you need to ground, not just during the busy holiday season, but any time throughout the year.
Love and Light.