Maintaining your yoga and meditation practice during the holidays, or any busy season for that matter, is a challenge! Our schedules fill up with so many activities and often we are not in control of the what, when, where and how. Sharing control of our lives can be stressful, but it can also be enriching because it jolts us out of our routine and forces us to re-focus on organizing our priorities. Kurt Vonnegut, a great American writer said, “Organization is the triumph over everything.” I hope the next few paragraphs will help you achieve the organization you need to keep your practice strong during the holidays.

The first thing I recommend to help you keep your practice up during the holidays is to make a commitment to your asana and meditation practice and give yourself the permission to maintain the training that keeps your body healthy and your mind at ease. Demands placed upon us by friends and family during the holidays can make us feel obliged to “go along with the crowd” so to speak. This is a good time for us to learn how to give ourselves permission to pursue our daily practice and enjoy the spontaneous fun of the holidays, too.

Second, try to see what activities are on the holiday schedule. Look for lulls in the activity where you can take twenty minutes to do a meditation or asana practice. You may not be able to practice as long as you might like, but each practice will allow you to reset yourself so you can be at your best as you enjoy all that the holidays offer. The best advice I can offer is to get your practice done first thing in the morning before the activities start revving up.

Third, take frequent conscious pauses to help you remain present and aware. This may be no more that a long breath or two to remind you of how you want to be in the midst of whatever situation you find yourself. The holidays sometimes create situations for interpersonal conflict and ax grinding. If you are aware of your breath and are mindful, you will be prepared to avoid these situations with a kind word or helpful action.

Fourth, as you your permit yourself to keep your commitment to your practice use your concentration to truly connect with your “namaste” or your personal excellence. This will help you shed anything that has begun to drag you away from your bliss or true nature. Allow yourself to bask in your bliss, to soak it up so that it permeates you. This will give you no small measure of immunity from any unexpected upsets or temptations.

Finally, enjoy yourself and have fun! Just because we are determined to maintain our practice during the holidays doesn’t mean we can’t let our hair down a bit. Your practice will help you establish the ground rules that you want to play by. It will open your heart so that you can truly be present with your loved ones and enjoy all the activities the holidays have to offer. An open heart will enable you to see and act with loving-kindness toward yourself and others.

Happy Holidays!