Add a Peaceful Yogic Tradition to Your Holiday
November is when we often break bread with family and friends as we express our gratitude. Such an expression of gratitude is also one of the great yogic practices. This, then, is an invitation to incorporate a new tradition into your holidays by adding a simple peace-creating yogic technique to your gatherings.
Before the feasting begins, take time to relax and experience this fun and easy breathing technique with your gatherers, a practice meant to remind us of how deep calming breaths can transform our nervous systems from stressed to peaceful. Among deep breathing’s proven effects are lowered blood pressure and heart rate, improved digestion and decreased over-production of stress hormones.
First, ask all who wish to participate to collect a brilliant fall leaf. Next, ask everyone to quietly observe their levels of activity, whether they’re excited, deeply focused on a movie or game, and so on. In order to demonstrate, you begin by standing up and, placing your leaf in your upturned palm, gazing at the leaf and taking three slow, deep breaths through the nose. On the fourth breath you will—lightly and slowly—blow on the leaf. The leaf will typically lift off your hand and into the air. Together you all observe as it floats gently to the ground. Take turns watching each person’s leaf release, then observe the energy level of the room. Invite each to share how they feel after slowing down and focusing their breath. Feel free to repeat this practice as many times as you’d all like, to see just how serene a gathering can become.
Lara Azzarito Ward has brought yoga and wellness to hospitals, corporations and the public for over 30 years. She is the Founder and Director of Lotus Gardens Yoga School and has personally certified more than 250 instructors, who now teach throughout the world. She resides in Sherman with her husband, Will, and family. LotusGardensYoga.com.