It’s that time of year again…
As a yogi you may think you have this mindset thing down, and cruise through this Festive period with more ease than every before. But it’s worth reminding ourselves of some staple yoga mindset tools that will help us get through this season with more cheer and less stress.
1. Ahimsa FFS!
Ahimsa, meaning non-violence, is our number one priority as a yogi, each and every day and not just at this time of year. But it really can help to lean on Ahimsa even more, as the likelihood of stressful or painful situations is higher.
Are you expecting to spend time with people or a particular person that you don’t like or enjoy spending time with over the next few weeks? This could be the perfect time to consider compassion. Compassion is the exact opposite of violence, so something we should strive to use. It’s worth considering that it can be our violent thoughts about someone else are what causes the anxiety or upset in the first place.
“Ugh she’s just so annoying!”
With that thought itself you’re causing pain (violence) to yourself by focusing on something negative that brings you down, and it’s also a violent thought toward the other person. Reframing your view of this person with layers of compassion changes the outcome entirely.
“Their actions are coming from a place of love, they do not set out to annoy me.”
By considering their actions from a compassionate standpoint the odds of them riling you so much is less, and spending time with them much more pleasurable and reduces the pain in your Christmas period.
Another Ahimsa moment over the festive season could be towards our gift buying habits.
Are you purchasing more than you can afford? If so, this a violence towards yourself.
Are you purchasing gifts that are likely to end up in land fill and damage the environment? This is then violence towards our planet.
Are you shopping at far from ethical stores? Again, a violence toward the environment and other people.
2. Manage your Expectations.
Oh come on it’s Christmas…
Christmas has to be…
We have to, it’s Christmas…
The expectations at this time of year are insanely high, I think everyone feels the pressure to spend more money, to engage in more social events and to eat and drink more. There is even an expectation to FEEL a certain way, and it can be too much!
Managing your own expectations at this time of year can remove so much pain from your Christmas.
If I don’t expect a certain gift, I won’t be disappointed.
If I don’t expect to eat at a certain time, I can eat chocolate all morning and feast whenever dinner is ready.
If I don’t expect to spend time with certain people, then I won’t be disappointed by those I do see.
If I don’t expect people to behave, feel and interact in a certain way, then I can’t be upset by the behaviours of those around me.
Expectations are like trying to control the future, you are setting yourself up to fail. Remove the expectations and you are then more present and more available to enjoy the moments you’re in, for what they are and not what you think they should be.
3. Just say no!
It’s important to strike a balance between having down time and Christmas socials, so saying no can be essential to avoid burnout at this time of year. The social calendar is full, the bank balance has been hit hard and the pressure to have the perfect Christmas is always at the forefront of our minds.
So saying no can become our best form of self care.
Saying no to just one more Christmas party with people you don’t really want to spend time with, isn’t going to hurt.
Saying no to staying out for “just one more”, allows you to get to bed earlier and nourish your overtired body.
Saying no to “just one more” mince pie or glass of bubbles will allow you to feel better in your body and mind.
Saying no to “just one more” gift for just one more person will remind you that your value is not placed in how many gifts you give or receive.
Equally, fellow introverts, I see you!
Sometimes it’s good to say yes. Spending time with those we love and care about is an important part of the festive period and a wonderful way to make memories and fill your cup. So try not to lean on the ‘self care/burn out’ excuse too often. You wont regret it.
I hope you have a yoga mindset Christmas
Love and Ahimsa FFS
Alex Howarth, owner of GAIN Mobility, Fitness, Astanga, Hatha and Vinyasa teacher. Lover of meditation and writing. Even if I can't spell.