Yoga & Celebrating the Holidays
Yes, I do celebrate the holidays- the light returning, as of yesterday’s Winter Solstice; thinking of what else I can give, give, give; smelling evergreens when I visit my friends’ homes; hearing from friends I thought I lost track of since my move; cheering those on who are in dire need of rest from their 9-5 jobs; updating my address book; finishing writing projects begun this year.
All the “holiday” activities mark a seasonal passing of time, called by different names according to different cultures. So of course I will be singing about stars and the magi and bells jingling and drums playing. Although I am not a Christian, (nor a Buddhist or Hindu either), I have studied spiritual practices enough to know how significant they are for most of us.
The Polish customs for Christmas Eve (called Wigilija) reconnect me with my childhood and my ancestors. The Wigilija meal includes eating specific foods, spotting the first star in the sky and sharing a blessed wafer received from relatives afar with those present at the table. We also open our presents that night! My more recent holiday rituals revolve around winter solstice when I feel that shift of the sun’s movement (significant for those of us suffering from seasonal depression).
As we know well through our yoga practice, our hearts open when we feel connected to loving beings all around us. And THAT I’ll celebrate – every chance I get!
-art by Shiloh Sophia McCloud