Christmas weekend is almost here and many of us will be spending it with family and friends. There will be lots of hugging, exchanging news, eating, drinking, and probably TV watching… All good comforting holiday things… If you are lucky enough to spend more than 2 days with your family, non-stop eating and gossiping schedule can get pretty boring. While ‘non-doing’ is a great yoga concept, doing nothing is just a waste of a precious life time. In case you find yourself frozen in front of a family TV just because you can’t think of anything better to do, here are some ideas for a yoga-style holiday entertainment program (Share the Yoga Wisdom!):
- Invite everyone to do a few Sun Salutations with you – It always feels good to get the blood flowing, open up the joints, and stretch out the muscles. Sun Salutations consist of just 8 simple asanas. Easy to do but very powerful because they involve every part of the body. Get everyone to do SS in the morning before breakfast or in the afternoon when everyone is more likely to be sitting together in the living room. It will be a beautiful introduction to yoga for anyone who hasn’t done it before and a great stretch for any seasoned yogi. 8-10 SS (one SS involves both sides) should be enough but feel free to do more, if you want a little bit of a workout! If you are not familiar with SS, try this Holiday Yoga video from Tara Stiles.
- Cook a healthy meal/dish/cookies and encourage mindful eating – Cooking a meal can be a way to show your love and care for your family. Food prepared with love is said to taste better, digest better, and have higher energy vibrations. So why not treat your loved ones to this special present? Here are some healthy and delicious recipe ideas (Buckwheat with Beets and Goat Cheese, ButtaNut , Apples with Apricots and Vanilla, and my favorite Bananas with a Warm Sauce of Ghee and Cardamom. Once a meal is prepared, get everyone to experiment with mindful eating. Ask everyone to pay attention to the smell of food, then invite them to take a bite and close their eyes. You should encourage people to find at least 3 adjectives to describe the taste, to enjoy the flavors, notice the texture and temperature. Once you are done, share your experiences with your friends and family, and with the blog peeps!
- Take everyone outside – Yes, yes, yes! Snow, rain, shine, go outside and get some fresh air. Your mood will be better, sleep more sound, and it’s just plane fun!
- Share an inspiring story – Have you read an interesting book or article lately? Good stories can be very uplifting and motivating. We all need it sometimes. One of the most touching and inspiring books that I’ve read last year were The Long Way Gone about a child soldier and his escape and The Mountains Beyond Mountains, telling about a doctor serving desperately poor.
- Give a breathing lesson to your family – Breathing is life. Some theories say that every human being has a certain number of breaths given to him for life. The slower we breathe, the longer we live. Breath is also an instrument to strengthen mind/body connection which can in turn helps o be more present in the moment. Start by sitting in a circle, closing your eyes and bring attention internally. Let the breath just flow in and out while you observe it for 5 minutes. Focus on the sensation of the air coming in and out with every breath, if you have too many thoughts racing in your head. This simple practice will leave you rested, calm, and peaceful.
- Make a Holiday Family video and share it with your friends – Upload it to www.youtube.com and share it on facebook and twitter or email it instead of a Holiday card. It will be a good family memory and will entertain those who are not celebrating the holidays with you.