Here we are in mid-December with the winter holiday season fast approaching. But while most plants and animals bed down for a long winter’s nap, we humans are ramping up. In fact many of us continue on at an unrelenting pace rather than slowing down, turning inward and using this season to rest and restore ourselves (I’m guilty, too!). Surely this behavior contributes yet another layer of strife to a season that is typically full of stressors. So, whether we enjoy and welcome this time of year or not, most of us will eventually deal with some tensions, anxiety and/or depression.
There are many constructive ways to manage and reduce stress. One of my favorites is yoga. Simply defined, yoga is an ancient Hindu spiritual practice that combines physical postures, breathing techniques and meditation as a means to spiritual attainment and physical and emotional good health. It may not be the right option for everyone, but many people, me included, appreciate the positive benefits of yoga, particularly for managing life’s difficulties and promoting a sense of ease and well-being.
The library offers a healthy collection of instructional dvds, books and downloadable audiobooks on using yoga to de-stress. Additionally, you can access instructional yoga videos with an emphasis on stress relief, free of charge, on YouTube. If you want personal instruction, there are several yoga studios in the area. I took my first yoga class decades ago as a college elective course and have never looked back. After years of study with a number of teachers, now I am content to practice at home with a little DVD inspiration. It’s a blessing to continue to draw on this practice that has sustained me through many tough and inevitable challenges.
One last offering — the Columbia library branch is hosting “Yoga and Mindfulness to De-Stress During the Holidays” on Monday, December 18, from 7-8:30 p.m. If you haven’t taken a yoga class before, this is an excellent opportunity to get started and get a boost of in-person support. Certified yoga teacher Brockell Briddle will teach you how to use simple breathing techniques and basic stretching exercises to cultivate more relaxation in your daily life.
If you find yourself anxious or sad or otherwise upset this holiday season, try and carve out some self-care time with a yoga session. Sometimes as little as 15 minutes can bring you back into mental and emotional balance. If you’re able to organize and take a little more time (30 minutes to an hour) a few times a week, you’ll feel substantially more relaxed and able to handle your daily life with more ease.
Wishing you peace this holiday season and beyond.