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Are you feeling anxious about the upcoming festive season? It’s a busy time of year where we find our social calender full, where there doesn’t seem to be enough time in the day to finish off our shopping, or to wrap up work before the end of year break.
There’s also a big emphasis on giving and receiving gifts. However, we encourage you to remember that gifts are more than just material goods.
Can your focus be ‘presence’ rather than ‘presents’? 
You may have been reminded to be present by your teacher when practicing yoga, to be aware and mindful, to live in the moment.
In reality most of us struggle with staying in the now and it may seem almost impossible when you begin to imagine the stress of the rapidly approaching silly season.
Remember last year? Rushing through shopping centres, maneuvering around car parks, and surviving the work functions. Trying to find presents for the family. Long waiting queues everywhere and dealing with traffic jams.  The memories alone can change your breathing pattern.
How does your body feel when you think of these things?  What happens deep in your mind? Can you tune in enough to notice? Is your heart rate going up? Do you start to perspire? Is your breathing sharp or shallow? Do you tighten your muscles? Clench your jaw?
Stop and just take notice for a moment, be present with how you feel when you imagine those scenarios.
Now switch focus from the chaos of shopping for Christmas presents, instead, to your breath. Focusing on each inhale and exhale, rise and fall of your chest.  Let your mind flow to recall how you feel after a blissful yoga class.
Close your eyes, and tap into the wave of your breath. Let the tension and stress drip from the top of your head to the tips of your toes…
Did you notice the contrast of emotions after bringing awareness to these opposing scenarios?  By becoming aware of how you feel, as we just imagined, regardless of the situation, helps to strengthen your ability to be present in the “now”.
The tools we develop while practicing yoga, like holding downward dog for five breaths, can also be used to help ease the mind in a variety of stressful or overwhelming situations including the festive season rush.
Here are a few simple habits which can help you jump back in the now, when life gets a little wild:

  1. Be Mindful – it’s tricky to slow down, but try to be more focused and aware, and check off your to do list at a calmer pace.
  2. Deepen Your Breath – oxygen helps every muscle in your body, including your brain.
  3. Move Your Body – with less tension in the body, there is less tension in the mind. Get on your yoga mat.
  4. Laugh Out Loud – there is always room for more laughter in life to lighten even the most stressful moments.
  5. Find Nature – enjoying the natural areas of the world to feel more grounded and sooth the soul.

When you leave the yoga studio and venture into the annual Christmas present hunt, remember to also shower those you love with gratitude and appreciation.
We wish you and your family a merry amount of presence during this festive season.  And we look forward to helping you find balance during this traditionally busy and exciting time of year.
See you on your mats. Sweat, stretch & smile,
Kula Yoga has a beautiful hot yoga studio on Camberwell Rd, Hawthorn, Melbourne. Kula offers ‘Hot Yoga’ classes for detoxification, dynamic power yoga ‘Flow Yoga’ as well as a gentle ‘Light Yin Yoga’ option. Beginners through to advanced students are welcome to all classes. Kula also provides prenatal & postnatal yoga classes, and provides Melbourne workplaces with group corporate yoga programs to build employee health, fitness and wellbeing, and school yoga programs. Kula also runs an annual ‘Kula Cruise’ yoga retreat sailing from Bali to Lombok & the Gili Islands. Find out more on our website www.kulayoga.com.au.  Or follow us:
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