Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Yoga and the Christmas Spirit: Embracing Generosity

By: Virginia Iversen, M.Ed

You may recall from your childhood the unfortunate stories of Ebenezer Scrooge and the Grinch who Stole Christmas. Both of these fictional characters encounter great duress during the Christmas season because of their own stingy nature. The lack of generosity that Scrooge and the Grinch displayed truly made them both completely miserable! This misery enveloped their entire lives. Once they realized the pain they were suffering from their own stinginess, they began to extend their generosity and goodwill to those around them in the true spirit of Christmas.

The traditional virtues of Christmas include faith, hope and charity. In addition, many Christmas stories honor the virtues of forgiveness, joy and wonder.  Charitable acts during the Christmas season are often undertaken by numerous church and community organizations, in order to alleviate the sense of poverty and loneliness that many people experience during the holidays. If you find that you are moved to give to those around you in a charitable fashion during the holidays, increasing your own sense of well-being and boosting your energy level will help you to extend your goodwill to others.

As we all know, when you feel better, you will be more able to offer your love, support and generosity to those around you. By doing so, you will be increasing the light and the love that is exemplified during the Christmas season. Practicing supported, restorative Yoga postures during the holiday season can help to relieve stress, recharge your batteries and bolster your mood. Restorative Yoga postures also help to relieve tension, quell anxiety and reduce the frequency and severity of headaches.

The practice of Yoga offers many tools to increase your well being, enhance equanimity and generate abundant levels of energy. In particular, engaging in your Yoga practice in such a way that you are not holding back when you are in the postures is one of the keys to expanding your ability to enter deeply into the practice. Additionally, by allowing yourself an ample amount of time to practice Yoga several times a week, or even daily, you will be generously allowing yourself an adequate amount of time to truly benefit from a well-rounded practice of Yoga postures, pranayama exercises and other complimentary Yoga practices, such as meditation and chanting.

* Salamba Shavasana or Supported Corpse Pose 

Salamba Shavasana is a very nourishing and refreshing Yoga posture, which helps to relieve fatigue, reduce stress, relieve headache pain, and support a restful night's sleep. The supported version of Corpse Pose is usually practiced at the end of Yoga class in lieu of the practice of regular Shavasana. To practice Supported Shavasana, you will need a Yoga bolster and a rolled blanket. It is also quite nice to cover yourself with an additional blanket and to have a warm pair of socks to put on, while your rest in this restorative Yoga postures. 

When you're ready to practice Salamba Shavasana, roll the blanket lengthwise and place it at approximately the height of the bottom of your shoulder blades horizontally across your Yoga mat. Position the Yoga bolster horizontally across your mat at the height of your knees. Gently lie back on your Yoga mat as you drape your knees over the bolster and support the back of your heart with the rolled blanket. If you like, place the extra blanket on top of you for warmth and remember to put your socks on if your feet are cold. 

As you rest in Salamba Shavasana, imagine a golden yellow sun filling your heart with warmth, light and energy. Allow the Sun within your own being to fill you with resplendent light. Rest in Salamba Shavasana for 5 to 10 minutes, and then roll to your right side and gently sit up in Easy Seat. Before closing your Yoga practice, take a moment to set an intention to offer an act of generosity, regardless of how large or small, to somebody in your day-to-day life, in order to honor the true spirit of Christmas. Ultimately, of course, this generosity of spirit will uplift you and bring abundance into your own life, just like Ebenezer Scrooge and the Grinch Who Stole Christmas.

Virginia Iversen, M.Ed, has been practicing and studying the art of Yoga for over twenty years. She lives in Woodstock, New York, where she works as a Yoga and health-related freelance writer and academic support specialist. She is currently accepting Yoga and health-related writing assignments and may be contacted


parvezbdjsr said...

The practice of Yoga offers many tools to increase your well being, enhance equanimity and generate abundant levels of energy. Nice sharing!

Mary Wilson said...

When we feel better, we can be more able to offer our love, support and generosity to those around us and yoga help us for feeling better.