Tis the season for stress.... Or is it?

The vegetable garden hasn't even been winterized yet but there's Christmas music playing on the radio.   The stores are decorated, the commercials are advertising all these great deals for stuff that you just have to have to make your Christmas perfect and that sense of overwhelming anxiety has made it's appearance in my life. 

When life starts to move too fast it seems only logical that something has to give.  Typically, it's our yoga practice. We start to think that maybe that time could be better spent getting ready for the holidays.  Writing out Christmas cards, wrapping gifts before the kids get up.  Rather than going to a yoga class we find ourselves standing in line at Toys R Us.  By the time Christmas day arrives  our nerves are shot and we're feeling exhausted and ready to hibernate for the rest of the winter.  Why do we do this to ourselves?

I read a yoga blog this week that reminded me of the importance of discipline with regard to regular practice.  The blogger talked about discipline as "protecting what you love, honoring what's important to you and making your values a priority"  When I shared this with a friend he thought it sounded egotistical.   It's interesting to me that when we put ourselves on the priority list we feel it's selfish or egotistical.   Why is that?

Is it selfish or egotistical when we take a shower or brush our teeth?  Is it selfish when we take care of our physical body by exercising?  Of course not.  Then why is it selfish when we take care of our mental or emotional body?  The answer:  It's not. 

While the rest of my family was sleeping this morning I made my way to the meditation cushion.   I light a candle and  offer a prayer before meditation.   My breath is slow and deep.  Today the thoughts are few and meditation is easy.   I'm not sure how much has passed but the sound of little footsteps bring me back into my body.  It's this practice of sadhana that helps me to dig down deep into the reservoir of strength that helps me maintain composure through-out the day. 

During yoga class this morning I'm aware of the absence of the mental chatter.  I kept my eyes closed most of the practice and continued to ride the wave that began during meditation.  The sound of my teacher's voice along with the sound of my own breath were my focus.  My body is smiling as I move through Surya Namaskar.  It feels good to breath and move.  It's this practice that makes me feel nourished and  energized. This is how I can take care of my family and friends without feeling depleted and frustrated.  

During the holidays discipline is important in so many areas of our lives.  We need discipline so that we don't eat to many cookies, or spend too much money.  We also need discipline so that we don't abandon our sadhana.  After all, we need to be calm and energized to fight those crazy people at Toys R Us trying to get their hands on that must have toy of the year!

 With my yoga sadhana complete - I feel better able to tackle whatever the universe sends my way.   Bring on the holidays!  Oh wait.... First I need to take care of the vegetable garden. 

As my Jakey says " Om Namah Shivaya!"


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