YOGA FOR HOLIDAY STRESS

You could say yoga for holiday stress is what yoga was created for! Yet the truth is yoga is for all stress! Yoga for stress is a well documented topic. Google yoga stress relief or holiday stress and yoga, and you will find much information. Understand the stress that’s being emphasized here is coming from how you respond to all the different feelings and emotions that for the most part are a by-product of how your brain interprets your experiences. Which means thoughts and past experiences influencing the present moment. For example, if you have learned something is “wrong” or “disrespectful” like someone acting in an irritating manner towards you, you may think they don’t like you or what you are doing, and you may get annoyed with them. Yet if you discover this person is in the midst of a crisis or trauma then there is a good chance you will not get annoyed as you realize their behavior is not a personal attack but a by-product of the pain or difficulty they are experiencing. So basically your interpretation was wrong and your wrong interpretation has stressed you. Most of us go through life like this. We place our preconceived notions onto our present experience, which include other people’s behavior and we have a reaction. In other words, we are projecting our beliefs onto others. Even if others’ responses are as we assumed, they would be we seem to take responsibility for their interpretation of our experience. As if we are wrong because they are getting upset.  

Holidays bring much of this to the forefront because it brings together family, friends, commitments, obligations, and expenses combined with our already busy lives so things get amplified. So how does yoga help? Firstly yoga can be a tremendous release from what has already been building up inside of you. It doesn’t matter the type of yoga. It could be holiday restorative yoga classes, or yin yoga classes or power yoga classes they all have a similar effect. The different types of yoga and yoga poses simply give you more choices to honor your mind and bodies’ needs. This consistent yoga practice throughout the holidays not only releases it also helps us to be less reactive. This happens because the less wound up you are the less likely you are to snap. A daily yoga practice keeps you less wound up. Yet there is more. All the past experiences that have created the present mind state and responses are constantly being recycled and reinforced with our thought patterns. It’s like we are strengthening them by constantly indulging in them, just like you strengthen a muscle by constantly using it. Because of this, the reverse is also true that if you do not use a muscle it will weaken. So, as we practice yoga which will quiet our mind (meditation) we are not indulging, recycling and strengthening these learned behaviors and thought patterns. Therefore, these thought patterns and their by-product stress become weakened. I call this killing the enemy. The enemy is not out in the world the enemy is within us. This yoga empowers us to not be habitually dominated by our learned behavior, which allows us more clarity and a different response to our present.

Since it is Christmas and Chanukah what a nice word to end this on “present”

Happy Holidays, 

Sincerely Bryan Kest

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