Whether we celebrate it or not, it’s hard not to miss it… Christmas is on its way!
Times of family holidays can bring up mixed feelings of joy, celebration and stress, pressure, and loneliness. Make sure you take care of yourself and respect your own rhythm up to and throughout the holidays. Make time to unroll your mat, practice, contemplate and spend time outside.
In addition to Christmas, we are also moving towards the transition into the new year and, before that, the shortest day of the year on Dec 21.
Winter solstice on Dec 21 and Christmas on Dec 25 do not have just four days difference by complete coincidence. Indeed, although opinions on the subject are mixed, historians discuss that the origin of celebrating Christmas relates to the pagan celebration of the day where light increases again on winter solstice. The Danish word for Christmas “jul” refers to the Germanic and Anglo-saxon word jule/geol, which means Winter Solstice.
The darker and darker days preceding winter solstice are an opportunity to go inwards, reflect, cocoon inside, nourish ourselves deeply to protect from dark and colder weather, and be more introvert in general. In this way, we actually prepare ourselves for a more outgoing time of celebration around Christmas time.
Yet darkness is never easy to navigate. Remember to balance this “inner-time” with movement, time spent outside while it is still light, nourishing activities, mediation and generally your yoga practice. If you, like me, feel mixed about Christmas, I invite you to take this time as an opportunity to tune in, nourish yourself, and prepare yourself to become gradually more outgoing, ready for more social time and new beginnings in the new year.
I’d be delighted to see you on the mat in the coming days. Check my schedule (and quite a few extra classes over the holidays at Pakhus Yoga) or join me for a workshop to re-align and deepen your practice on Jan 19.
Kali – the goddess of Darkness
When times go dark, in and out, it’s good to remember the Indian goddess Kali. In the Indian tradition of multiple goddesses, each representing a different set of qualities of our divine inner nature, Kali stands for bringing darkness into the light, embracing our shadows, and helping us move through deep transformation. We just had the last black or new moon of 2018, and this time is auspicious to do some shadow work; i.e. recognizing part of what we have kept in the dark for so long and transform it into constructive and empowering qualities.
For me, shadows pop up first as a reflection in others: something I find irritating and feel very judgmental about. When I am able to see that, I take a step back and wonder what this reflection is pointing at me… Which side of me I have not yet been able to recognize and embrace? Which part is mine (and would rather do without 😉)? For more inspiration on shadow work, please visit my earlier post on working with shadows.
When we embrace our shadows, we feel more whole and more compassionate about ourselves. And when we do, we become more loving and spacious for others… making us roll as heart-centered kings and queens during the Christmas festivities 😉
One last input: present exchange
Christmas is a time of gift exchanging. Finding gifts for everyone can also bring stress and overwhelm, overcrowded shops not helping. If that is the case for you, take a moment to pause, and remember that a gift is simply an expression of love and gratitude towards the person you offer it to. Take time to ask yourself each time, “Do I feel joy when I imagine myself giving this present”, or if you can know that, “Will this person feel joy when I give them this present”. I am convinced that the receivers of each of your gifts will feel your love, gratitude, and deep sense of care beyond the gift itself.
Should you need inspiration, and feel that a “yogic” present will make you or the other person joyful, here are some ideas from HeartWise Yoga 😉 :
Back to Basics 2.0., workshop to re-align and refine your practice (hips, shoulders and neck)
Gift card for all HeartWise Yoga activities, private class, workshop, healing, retreat… (no expiration date, not valid for regular classes though): write to Cedric
Yoga retreat – 6 fantastic days in Tuscany, nature, reflection, rejuvenation, good food and good company 😊 . Early birds ends on Dec 31.
From all my heart, merry Christmas!
Blessings of Love & Light