Merry Christmas! Are you in need of some rest and recuperation? A few minutes spent in the following poses should bring back some merriment in no time flat!
1. Sun Salutations
Unite, northern brethren, against the travails of SAD (or Seasonal Affective Disorder)! The sun has gone into hiding. Days are short. Nights are long. The world is cold, cold, cold. We feel sleepy, groggy and just not ourselves. While the holidays can be a wonderful time to reconnect, they can also be stressful—think angry travelers, financial pressures, dysfunctional get-togethers, overeating and over-imbibing. This can wreak havoc on even the most hearty of internal balances.
By all counts, ancient people had it far worse. During the winter months, dark days meant the threat of starvation, disease, wild animals and marauding hordes. December 21—the shortest day of the year—was a joyous occasion meant to honor the return of the sun god. Enjoy a few good sun salutes today. Relax the feet into the earth, synchronize body and mind, and breath while moving through the sequence. Open the joints, stretch the muscles and release toxins. Treat your own body to its own sense of rebirth.
2. Balasana (Child’s Pose)
Linger for a few minutes in child’s pose to celebrate the birth of Jesus. Allow the hips to open. Place the forehead on the floor. Remember the inherent virtue of introspection. Strength does not always come to him or her who talks the loudest or seems to accomplish the most according to our culture’s version of accomplishment. Everything needn’t be perfect. Remember “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation”? The Grizwold holiday was a disaster—and we love them for it! The moral of this story? Aunt Vera can do without the second Christmas present. The damn chocolate souffle will fall. Your neighbor will get that fourth degree from Harvard and discuss it incessantly during Christmas dinner. Oh well. Remember the reason for the season. And, if it gets too bad, try balasana under the dinner table. Maybe somebody else will do the dishes.
3. Happy Baby
Babies are happy. They have their whole lives ahead of them. After this pose, you will be too. Super-charge your adrenals by grounding your lower back into the ground and pressing your feet into your hands. Rock from side to side under the Christmas tree. Be aware of falling ornaments or sharp toys. Your body will thank you for it.
4. Natarajasana (Cosmic Dancer)
Today, the world is full of salvation and promise. For some reason, this pose reminds me of Lifetime holiday movies. There is something vaguely Santa-like about their December programming. Cause always equals effect. The girl always gets the guy or the great new job. The family reconciles after many trying Christmases. Usually, this is achieved through the magical, supernatural intervention of a third party. Who would have guessed that the volunteer Santa from the community center becomes a new boyfriend? Who would imagine the next-door neighbor is Santa? Or that the lady in the subway token booth is a fairy godmother? There really is somebody or something which allows us to supercharge our souls when we really need it, to scrape away the tarnish and corrosion to reveal the shine underneath. There is always hope. Root onto the earth with one foot. (Seriously, you’re going to need it. Destroying old perspectives and old habits is hard work!) Take your time. Lengthen the spine with each inhale. Lean forward with each exhale.
Soak it all in and reset!
Ed: Brianna B.