The holiday season is a time to come together in celebration with friends and family. This time can reinforce sharing, community and a sense of belonging. Within these exciting times it can be easy to fall into "extremes".
We have a tendency to "over" indulge at the holiday dinners... to "over" drink at the celebrations... to "under" sleep... to "over" stress with the pressure of arranging plans, gifts and so on. How do we stay in balance?
Yuktaahaara Vihaarasya Yuktacheshtasya karmasu Yuktaswapnaavabodhasya YogoBhavati Dukhahaa. The Bhagavad Gita 6.16
Yukta : Moderation; Aahara : Food; Vihaara : Recreation; Cheshta, karma : Different activities; Swapna : Dreaming, sleep ; Avabodha : waking up; Yoga : yoga; Dukhaha : Removes suffering.
"Moderation in food, moderation in recreation and different activities, moderation in sleep and waking. This is the yoga of moderation, which removes suffering." - The Bhagavad Gita As The Bhagavad Gita shows, the key is moderation. We all want to enjoy the holidays, but the full enjoyment is only possible when there is moderation... otherwise we are led to discomfort and suffering. Sleep less, we are tired... eat more, we are uncomfortable... drink more -- you know.... So, what are some practical approaches for staying balanced?
Remember the lesson of experience. We all have previous experiences of times of indulgence or being out of moderation, and how this brought in suffering... When approaching situations, we can ask ourselves whether we want to enjoy (while knowing the line of moderation), or again suffer.
Breathe. Spend 5-10 minutes each morning practicing Nadi Shodhana Pranayama (alternate nostril breathing).
Appreciate. Before eating meals, take a moment and look at the plate. Think about from where the food came, and how it came to the plate. Take a few deeps breaths and offer gratitude.
Stay Truthful to yourself. When physically or mentally tired from the fast paced nature of the holidays, be honest with yourself when you need a rest. Take a day for yourself to recharge and reset.