By Melissa Baker
During the holiday season, a simple stroll to the store turns into bumper-to-bumper shopping carts in endless check-out lines. It is a time that many people associate with stress, overwhelm, lack, greed and pressure, but it can be a time of joy, family, time-off and vacation. The holidays are an opportunity for us to exercise relaxation and spirituality.
Start your Morning with Sadhana
Waking up early to spend time with yourself is a great way to fill up your holiday cup. Usually, more time is spent socializing and out in the business of the world. During a sadhana, we are able to slow down, feel energized and realize that all that we need is within ourselves.
“For the mind to work for you for the whole day, it must be fresh and clear; it must be made livable. That is why it is a requirement to rise early in the morning when nobody can disturb you, when you can be yourself.”
Breathe and Get Clear
Breathing is a tool that we take for granted in our everyday lives. Sometimes when you feel anxious, all you need to do is breathe to feel calm. The breath can help us make decisions that are intentional instead of reactive. At the next holiday dinner gathering, practice breathing before you start or partake in a heavy conversation. Be intentional and clear with your word by using the breath as a guide to relax in any situation.
Intentional Gratitude and Patience
As Yogi Bhajan says,
“If you just feel happy for what you have, have an attitude of gratitude, and be grateful, then it will come true—you will be GREAT and you will be FULL.”
This season is a wonderful moment for you to strengthen your relationship with yourself and the people around you. In American culture, we are always seeking more and more and rely on our external work to gratify our human needs instead of turning within to feel whole and complete.
With the practice of gratitude, you are able to appreciate what you already have, especially the people in your life. Use gratitude as a tool to reconnect with all the blessings present in your life. Now is a great opportunity to handwrite a letter or spend time with people you haven't spoken to in a while.
Practice a Kundalini Kriya and Cherish Deep Relaxation
By relaxation, I don’t mean sitting around on the couch with the hippest onesie and watching Netflix for hours. I mean the relaxation you get when your mind is still, your emotions are not causing commotion, and your body is nourished.
The power of relaxation translates into your life in many different ways during these times that can be viewed as stressful to your body, mind and spirit. With Kundalini Yoga we can untangle the feelings and sensations of stress through kriyas, breath work and mantra. As life presents these challenges, allow your practice to be a foundation for solutions to mental blocks.
I’ve experienced the most insight and spiritual inspiration during the relaxation between exercises or at the end of a powerful kundalini practice. Relaxation is essential to balance your system, distribute the energy (prana) throughout your body that is built up during a kriya, stimulate glandular shifts, release stress, and support the body and mind to return to a neutral state of being.
“Deep relaxation is not just the absence of movement. It brings profound relaxation to the physical body, allowing us to enjoy and consciously integrate the mind-body changes which have been brought about during the practice of a kriya. We may sense the extension of the self through the magnetic field and the aura.”
Relaxation and Kundalini Kriyas are like the yin and the yang of spiritual fitness. They balance each other and without one, there cannot be the other. In the capacity we have to relax, there is an inner competence to keep that feeling when you step into the world after yoga.
You can use these tools to stay calm when your family brings up politics or when you are standing forever in line at the store. You can take a deep breath and let it go. In these small instances, we can use the power of this relaxed state to create a small impact on the people and environments around us. An energy and radiance of relaxation can make all the difference going into this holiday season. Be the forklift for others’ spiritual awareness and relaxation.
This holiday season, ask yourself…
How will I incorporate deep relaxation into my routine?
How will I practice gratitude and patience?
If I had the opportunity to deeply relax, what would that feel like?
How can I show up relaxed and present in all that I do?
What am I grateful for in my life today?
In 2010, Nirbho Atma Kaur’s (Melissa Baker) life changed when she had scoliosis surgery, where two titanium rods were placed aligning her spine. Since then, she has fully embraced and cared for her body through an active life. She is a Kundalini Yoga teacher who is passionate about teaching young adults and diverse cultures how to access and connect to their inner truth through Kundalini Yoga, Hatha Yoga and Ayurveda.
She is a Certified Health Education Specialist and Radiant Child Yoga Teacher. Nirbho Atma learned Kundalini Yoga at an Ashram in Israel. She has developed personal practices of Kundalini Yoga, and Hatha Yoga, and her creative expression of writing and music. She teaches transformational workshops, retreats, children's classes, and online. Outside of yoga, Melissa loves to experience travel adventures, play tennis, be in nature, cook nourishing food from local markets, and simply be around loving people.