Posted on December 15 2017
Ideally, your time to look inside would come on a yoga mat, surrounded by scents and your favorite soothing sounds. If you’re like most people, though, you might find that your need for peace doesn’t always come when you have access to your yoga home. That’s especially true this time of year when you probably feel like the mall, rather than your yoga studio, is your second home. In the rush of “to-do’s” it’s even easier than usual to feel pulled off your mental axis by the pressure and stress of the season, not to mention ads screaming at you from the TV, radio and even your phone, telling you all the things you have to buy to keep up with the Joneses.
Obviously, if you can get to a yoga class and lose yourself in the peaceful atmosphere of letting the day go and focusing only on the moment and your breath, that’s a shortcut to calm and putting your mind where it needs to be. If you can’t do that, though, you can find calm in your mind in the midst of all the rushing.
Sometimes, having a mantra is the simplest way to make your introspection portable. At the beginning of the day, set an intention that will help bring you back to the present moment. You might try something like “ I will strive to fully experience every minute of today without worrying about what I have to do next.” Then, no matter how stressed out you feel, take a moment to think about what you are doing—whether it’s checking out at the mall, hanging garlands or baking—and contemplate how each sense is affected. How are you seeing, hearing, feeling, smelling or tasting it? As you work through your perception, let yourself feel the rushing slowing back down to a controllable level. Repeat that throughout the day, letting your surroundings wash over you, even if they are mundane. Resist the temptation to “think ahead.” Being prepared is one thing, but try not to let yourself get overwhelmed by that feeling of “I’m already late.”
However you find contemplation in your daily life, the important thing to remember is that you don’t have to go on a retreat to find serenity during the holidays. Remind yourself of the central message of the season—the love and generosity we all share. Forget the latest iPhone or the mountain of cookie baking!