Growing on Holiday
Holidays can be a challenging time for your mind and body. Holidays tend to be a time of overindulgence, extravagance and late nights. As you ‘relax’ out of your routine your daily regime of healthy eating and exercise tends to take a back seat, doesn’t it?
I know that mine certainly does. The result is often a squidgier middle, mood swings and feeling a little flat. Then January rolls round and I feel like I’m starting all over again.
This year I decided to do things differently. I closed the studio for the whole of December only reopening on the 11th of January and I set my students (and myself) a challenge. We committed to a 40 day practice that would run across Christmas and New Year.
A 40 day practice is challenging at the best of times. Committing to doing it over Christmas and New Year is absolutely unfathomable for many people.
My core students who come each morning for 5am Sadhana are a committed bunch and I knew that they were ready for this. We had done a few 40 day kriyas during 2015 which has introduced them to the idea of a daily practice but this would be the first one all on their own and of course over the busiest time of the year.
I chose a simple set that we have done a few times before in class with asana that was easy to do on their own. The full kriya takes around 30 min but it could be reduced to 10 minutes on those crazy busy days. We set up a whatsapp group to support each and that was that.
The group energy certainly makes it easier on those challenging days! As the messages start coming in early in the morning it creates the sense of being part of something bigger, there is another soul out there also making time for the mat. For themselves.
The most challenging part of doing the kriya every day whilst on holiday was, for me, mostly logistical! Our family was in one room at our hotel and I’m an early riser, the boys, not so much!
This led me to a really beautiful place in my practice. Somewhere that I didn’t even realise I needed to go. Kundalini yoga is generally practiced with the most beautiful music imaginable in the background. We listen the voices of angels with Snatam Kaur, Ajeet Kaur, Sat Purkh and many more amazing voices. We have fast music to carry us through frogs and hauntingly beautiful music for meditations.
Sharing a room over the holidays meant no music. It also meant practicing in the dark. Quietly.
Each morning I was faced with no distractions, only me and my mat. It was the most precious gift that i never knew I wanted.
I learnt so much about myself over the 40 days of practicing in darkness and quiet. I learnt to listen to myself, to hear myself and to at consciously and deliberately.
It was liberating and it was empowering all at the same time. I have often told my class that it is in stillness and silence that we hear the soul and it was only through this unexpected gift that I began to truly understand what that meant.
Do you ever feel like you understand a concept? Something so familiar to you that you think you know exactly what it means then one day you have an experience that teaches you that you really didn’t understand it at all? That is how I felt this December. I was so sure that I was experiencing the stillness and silence in my daily meditations but it took finding stillness and silence in the unlikeliest of places to truly understand what it meant.
I realised that we should never ever assume that we understand anything at all! You have so much still learn even in the things that you think you have so much experience, you can go deeper. You can experience more if you just allow yourself to adapt and go with the flow.
So this December not only did I manage to survive the holidays but I came home a little bit more connected to me!