While it’s supposed to be one of the happiest seasons, I often feel more stress than joy in November and December. I desperately want this Holiday Season to be different. I want to close out this year with remarkable joy. I long to begin 2013 not with a resolve for less stress, but a well established habit of joy.

I used to think feeling happy was a matter of choice. I mistakenly thought I just needed to make a simple declaration, “I choose to be happy.”

But, I’m discovering that we can’t choose feelings. Instead, we choose our thoughts and the feelings arise.  If I want to change my feelings, I have to change my thoughts. I need to carefully cultivate the ground from which my feelings arise.

My yoga mat is the perfect place to tend that ground. The practice of restorative yoga and deep relaxation provide a unique opportunity to grow joy-producing thoughts. If I am going to have a joyous Holiday Season, I must carve out time for rest that I remain awake and alert to observe.

But, particularly at this time of year, I find it difficult to just lay down on my mat and relax. I need to prepare my body and my mind for rest with active yoga first. So, I also need to set aside time for the physical release of tension through asana.

This Holiday Season, I’m going to let joy arise on my yoga mat with some hard work followed by deep rest. Would you like to join me? Are you willing to set aside 40 minutes a few times a week to tend the ground from which your feelings arise?

Registration is now open in the Virtual Yoga Studio for a five-class series entitled Work Hard, Rest Deeply. The first four, 40 minute classes will begin with some hard work – about 20 minutes of vinyasa flow. Yoga poses included will focus on stretches that release tension in all the common hot spots, while increasing strength and balance.

These classes will close with 20 minutes of restorative yoga and Savasana, with guided relaxation focused on growing joy-producing thoughts.

The fifth class, releasing Christmas Eve, will be a full restorative yoga class. Each year, I give up my active yoga practice the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day and instead practice only restorative poses. It’s the perfect time to follow nature’s example and enjoy a week of rest.

The first class in the Work Hard, Rest Deeply series is releasing in just two weeks, on Monday, November 26! A new class will release each Monday through Christmas Eve.

Let’s do some yoga together! I’ll be in my living room. Meet me in yours, okay?

This article has 4 comments

  1. marilyn terzian Reply

    Jen, I so hear what you are saying and feel what you are feeling! It is so common, but sometimes we feel all alone in these holiday feelings. It was nice to read that and I can’t wait to try to find some time to do the yoga classes. I’m starting everything early this year! I used to chuckle about people shopping and preparing in Oct. but now I know that is one of the keys to decreased anxiety!

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