Survival Kit for the holidays



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December 2015

Survival Kit for the holidays
By Jenny Kierstead,
Founder Breathing Space Yoga Studios

Happy Holidays friends! To support your wellbeing through the holiday season, I’ve created a Christmas Survival Kit to help keep your heart rate calm and your buttocks firm.

In yoga, there is a beautiful Sanskrit word for pure joy or bliss, called ‘ananda’. When we experience ananda, we find ourselves in an unwavering state of peace, beyond the extremes of our emotions. This deep peace remains throughout the temptations of pleasure and the difficulty of pain. Ananda, however, is more than just a state of bliss, it is also the journey toward it.
This season is notorious for causing burn out from too much partying, entertaining and, for many, too much shopping. Here are some tips for enjoying the journey toward (and hopefully moments of) ananda:

  1. We have two dimensions to our nervous system; fight or flight which kicks in when we are stressed, and rest and relaxation, which we drop into when we’re lounging. In order to feel like you’ve actually had a break this holiday, it is important to spend time in a little R & R. Deep slow breathing is always available to you and instantly changes your physiology, taking you from the stress of fight or flight to the calm of R & R. Try a practice run now…
  2.  If you’re feeling exhausted and you don’t have time to rest, invigorate yourself with a gentle backbend or arch. Stand tall and place your hands just above your buttocks. Press down with your hands, lift your chest and ease your hips forward. If possible, tip your head back and breathe in to the opening in your chest and belly. Stay here for five breaths, then come to standing again and continue on your merry way.
  3. If you must shop, you can’t go wrong with gift certificates. Yoga and other health oriented gift certificates are a great way to support your family and friends on the path of health for the new year.
  4. Are all the festivities giving you a headache? Stand in front of a couch and fold forward until you can rest your arms and head on the edge. If you cannot bend forward that far, pack some cushions under your head until you feel sufficiently propped. Big breathing with this forward bend will help to nourish the brain and ease out tension from the scalp.
  5. Family time can be wonderful and it can also be stressful. When emotions get tense, sit down, lean forward, stick your tongue out and with bulging eyes exhale emphatically. I’m not making it up, this posture is called the lion and it’s a healthy and funny way of addressing any disagreement.
  6. You are not responsible for emotions that spontaneously arise, but you are responsible for staying in a mood. When you notice yourself spiraling into negativity or overwhelm, tell yourself that you have the freedom to choose your moods. Spend time in gratitude for all the blessings in your life, play an inspiring piece of music and move on.
  7.  Tis’ the season for overindulging and sweets tend to be the food of choice. Eating lettuce, kale, olives or even dark chocolate help to curb that sweet craving as they are all bitter in taste. Also be aware of your protein intake, we often reach for the fruitcake when the body really needs a healthy helping of beans.
  8. When you catch yourself on a binge, grab a friend and capture a moonlit walk or do a few sun salutations. Movement is a sure way of shifting your focus from emotional eating to healthy eating.

The only way to experience true peace, joy and happiness is through moment to moment mindfulness. Set an intention for your holiday by asking yourself the following questions: What do you need? Who and what nourishes you? When can you find some R&R? Set up your next few weeks so that your answers become the focus of the season.
Namaste, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah, Gung Hi Phat Choi!
PS: Want to experience more ananda?  Join me for my annual visioning retreat January 2nd. Click here for details. 

Breathing Space Fredericton is now under construction and they have great Pre-Opening Specials available right now. You can expect to see them fully open late December or early January. All the while, Breathing Space Sydney has been busy and they are almost finished construction. Their doors will be open for classes any day now. Such exciting times!

Little Things You Can Change for a Happier and Fulfilled Life

Sometimes, the cause of our unhappiness is our very own nature. We are naturally inclined with certain characteristics which needs to be changed in order for us to live a happier and fulfilled life. To hold on to these natural characteristics and still aspire to be happy and live a fulfilled life is impossible. The only thing that stands between you and happiness is you. Click Here to change these natural characteristics of you and find your way to a happier destination.


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December, 2015