Holidays can be stressful. I have great childhood memories of Thanksgiving and Christmas. But I also recall some family craziness and my poor mom running around in a frenzy!
I enjoy hosting the big meal, sharing the gifts and attending parties. It is hectic, yes!! So I choose to be joyful and try not to worry if things don’t go quite as planned. It is a hard thing to do when you want everything to be just right. But truthfully most of the things I worry about don’t matter.
One of my favourite holiday memories as a kid – the Christmas we lost power. We cooked the turkey in our neighbor’s camper. My parents and our neighbors managed to put together Christmas dinner despite the circumstances. Not the plan at all but an unexpected gathering that was a whole lot of fun! And it still makes me smile. Not perfect but perfectly wonderful.
If the holidays overwhelm, reduce the stress by getting more grounded.
What exactly does this mean? You are grounded when you are present. Instead of worrying about how things will be, bring your attention to what is. It is so easy to get caught up and miss the joy in the moments – the weird thing your kid says at the dinner table or the sweet taste of lovingly prepared food!
Yoga gives the gift of presence. Moving through postures and feeling your physical being brings you into the present moment. It helps you to feel less spacey. It grounds you.
I recently read about a practice called Earthing. The idea is to create a physical connection between the electrical frequencies of the human body and the Earth (e.g., go barefoot in the grass, or at the beach). The earth is a source of energy that contributes to our health. (from: Earthing Canada)
This sounds a lot like what we do in yoga. You start with a strong foundation. Awareness begins at your feet as you build the pose. You root into the ground for stability and draw in the earth’s energy. There is a physical connection to the earth.
Yoga Poses for Grounding
Here are some poses to help you to feel grounded. It would be awesome to practice them outdoors, feeling the grass or sand between your toes. But may not be practical at this time of year! However, you can still hold the intention of connecting with the earth and nature. Feel where your body contacts the earth, in your feet, hands or torso. Find steadiness and strength in this connection.
I have suggested a thought for each pose. If it resonates, repeat it to yourself (like a mantra) as you hold the posture.
1. Child’s Pose
Kneel on the floor, sitting back on your heels. Take a deep inhale, then as you exhale, fold forward and stretch your arms our in front. Rest your forehead on the floor. Take up space with the whole front of your body.
Thought: “I am nurtured.”
2. Downward Dog
Curl your toes under and press up into downward facing dog. Start with knees bent. Walk your dog, lifting each heel. Come to stillness. Press into the mat with your hands and your feet as you lift your tailbone towards the ceiling.
Thought: “I gain energy from the earth.”
3. Mountain Pose
Stand on your mat with your big toes touching and your heels slightly apart. Root your feet into the ground. Release the shoulder blades down your back. Hang your arms alongside your body. Feel the top of your head rise towards the ceiling as your legs hold you strong. Soften your gaze and breathe easily.
Thought: “I am still. I am poised. I am strong.”
4. Tree Pose
Draw one foot up and place the sole against the ankle or inner thigh of the opposite leg. Toes of the lifted leg are pointing toward the floor. Bring your hands to your heart. Extend the crown of the head toward the ceiling. Softly gaze at a point about 4 feet in front of you. Extend your arms up and reach for the sky. Repeat on the other side.
Thought: “I am grounded and flexible.”
5. Wide-Legged Forward Bend
Turn towards the long side of your mat and open your legs about 4 feet. I like to turn my toes in slightly. Take a deep breath in and on your exhale, bend at the hips lowering the hands to the floor. Place your hands on the floor beneath you.
Thought: “I choose my experience.”
Stretch your legs out and let your feet fall open. Bring your arms by your side, palms up. Relax into your mat, sinking in.
Thought: “I am supported.”
Happy Thanksgiving!! I hope you create many beautiful moments to savour.
Photo courtesy of Matana_and_Jes