Recently I had the honor of speaking at Shepherd College on the value of yoga in a person’s life. I thought about the strength that yoga asana gives our bodies and the steady concentration that it gives our minds. I thought mostly, though, of the words of Patanjali and that which we as yogis are called to in the world: compassion, truth, living without greed or theft, and moderation. These are the values we are called to live everyday, in every facet of our life. And there is no better time to begin that practice than now. The holiday season has become something of a conundrum to me: most of the time we race from store to store, from event to event, fulfilling what many of us believe is necessary. This year, I’m trying to remember that traditionally this time of year, the time of the last full moon cycle as the winter solstice comes upon us, is really meant to be a time of introspection and of slowing down in anticipation of great transformations, beautiful new beginnings. And so as the world seems to call me to rush, I am trying to practice off the mat, bringing awareness of the way my body feels into all that I do. When my jaw tightens and my neck begins to throb with tension, I know that I am losing my steady center, that I’m doing too much or doing it all too fast with too much aggression. I take this time to become aware of my breath and to focus on a breath that soothes me. I become more connected to my feet and to feeling myself rooted to the ground. And then I cross things off my “to do” list that may not need to be there. Becoming a discerning source of my life energy and moderating that life energy is never more important than during these times. As the holiday season comes to a peak, I send you all blessings, compassion that begins with yourself, a steady and sweet breath to guide you, and the discernment to know just how much of yourself to give.

Love, Christa