7 Ways to get Happy for the Holidays

The holidays supposed to be merry, so here are some tips to help you endure, and maybe even enjoy these special times.

1) Keep up your routine – Instead of saying “oh it’s the holidays…I’ll get back to it after Christmas” try to keep on track throughout Christmas and you won’t have to spend the first two weeks of a new year just catching up to things you let go over Christmas break. You will be ahead of the game and start the new year off happier for it.

2) Practice gratitude – Isn’t that really what the holidays are all about? Being grateful for what we have? So even if it isn’t much, be grateful for what you have in your life. If you are living in abundance, be grateful and share with those who may have less. This is the time for giving, any receiving is simply a side effect of all the giving going on.

3) Have a plan – Of course things over the holidays are not expected to always go as planned, but it’s still good to have an outline. In your plan include the things that you are doing for sure. Know the things you need to do and say no to things that are unnecessary. The holidays are for relaxing, not for stressing about the things your supposed to be doing.

4) Be self-aware – How are you feeling about the holidays? How are you taking care of yourself? How are you treating others? The better you care for yourself over these last few weeks of the year, the better you can extend kindness and patience to your family, loved ones, and strangers. Be as kind as possible to yourself and extend that kindness to those around you.

5) Move your body – Do some dancing, yoga, active gaming, a sporting tournament, whatever it is get moving over the holidays. Studies show that starting to exercise regularly is equally effective as an anti-depressant for some people. If the holidays have you blue, get moving and watch your colour shine through.

6) Avoid the urge to over-indulge – Maybe a plan to stick to your routine includes your diet. There are many temptations to over-indulge over the holidays. Sometimes it’s okay to give in and this might be one of those times for you. Maybe pick one day over the holidays where you can eat as much as you want/can. We all know that being so full it hurts isn’t actually an enjoyable sensation. Have a treat here or there and find moderation. If moderation is not a word in your world, then abstinence is your ticket.

7) Smile and laugh your way through it – Our minds and bodies are one. If you smile and laugh, messages are sent to your brain that stimulate the release of endorphins. So, when your dad starts with his lame puns and stupid jokes, smile and laugh not only will it make him feel witty, but you will receive the health benefits and your mood will be magnituded 😉

Good luck!

Laughter Yoga

Laughter yoga! 

What the heck is that?!

It’s awesome! And it has nothing to do with yoga poses, although it does join the breathing or pranayama practice of yoga.

Laughing yoga was started by a doctor by the name of Madan Kataria in India. He started in a park with some friends telling jokes to receive the health benefits of laughter. Once they ran out of jokes they decided to skip the jokes and go straight to the laughing and the results astounded them!

By fake laughing with people you eventually end up real laughing that is contagious and leaves one feeling fantastic after the session.

Laugher yoga has started up all over the world in over 62 countries and there are now over 6000 laughing clubs that get together for the primary purpose to laugh!

There are other aspects of laughing yoga too such as clapping,  playfulness, eye contact, and breathing exercises.

Why would one do such a ridiculous seeming thing?

… to feel happy of course!

It turns out that there are many great health benefits of laughter such as

  • Laughing lowers blood pressure. People who lower their blood pressure, even those who start at normal levels, will cut their risk of strokes and heart attacks. …
  • Reduces stress hormone levels. …
  • Fun ab workout. …
  • Improves cardiac health. …
  • Boosts T cells. …
  • Triggers the release of endorphins. …
  • Produces a general sense of well-being.

All you need to do is laugh! And just like anything that you practice, it gets easier to laugh the more you do it. Have you ever tried laughing when something is bothering you? Laugher immediately lightens our mood and helps give feelings of contentment. So go ahead, laugh it up or laugh it off, whatever you do and for whatever reason or none at all – laugh.

Check it out and see if there is a laughter club near you!

I recently became a Certified Laughing Yoga Teacher, so if you are looking for some help starting a Laughing Club near you, let me know!


Self Love / Joy Meditation

I just completed this for my yoga homework and figured I would share it for anyone who may stumble across it and possibly enjoy it. :)

Find yourself in a comfortable position, close your eyes if that is a desirable option for you. Begin to notice your breath. Don’t try to change it, but instead just observe it’s qualities. Where is your breath reaching right now? Are you breathing into your chest? Your ribs? Into your belly? How fast or how slow are you breathing? How long is your inhale? How smooth is your exhale? Is there space in-between? Are you breathing through you mouth or through your nose? Are you congested, are your sinuses clear? Just notice. Just breathe. 
Now take notice of your thoughts. Where are your thoughts? Are they stuck somewhere in the past, or are they worrying about something in the future? You have survived everything in the past thus far, which means that in everything is going to be okay in the future. So you may as well relax, and be here, now. Trust yourself. Make this moment your everything.
Take a moment to notice how you feel. 
Are you holding on to any tension?  If so, where is it? Notice it, send it love, and allow it to release. And then allow it to release again. Scan your body as you release and relax and allow yourself to sink into your mat. You are safe and supported here. You are safe. You are supported.
Take a moment, now, to smile. You’re smiling for no reason at all. Know that you can do this at any time in your day and in fact, the more you manage to do this, the more reason you will have to continue.
Actually there is something to smile about. You are loved and you are love, so take a second here to love yourself… Like really love yourself. Love yourself right now like you love whatever it is in your life that you love the most… Maybe it’s your child or your children, your partner, maybe its another family member, a pet, a friend, a plant, a place. Whatever it is, give yourself the love you give it, and store this love for yourself in your heart to access absolutely whenever you need. Breathe it, feel it, soak it into your every vein and artery.
Possibly your thoughts have calmed. If thoughts continue to arise, watch them with kindness as they transform and conform into the shape of a dandelion going to seed, and then watch the wind of your breath blow its particles into flight. You may notice some of them return and that’s okay, just watch them with admiration as they float on by. 
By calming your mind and taking a break from your thoughts, you are allowing magic to flow in. You are absorbing the wiseness of the earth. Feel as you fill with magic and feel as you fill yourself with all of the qualities you already have, that you tell yourself you lack. You know, what makes you vulnerable, makes you beautiful. So, take all of your imagined short comings and use your imagination to make another ball of dandelion seeds. Take a look at this ball and cherish it’s beauty. Can you love every piece of it? Again, allow your breath to blow it’s particles into flight. Watch them fly. Fly. F.L.Y. First Love Yourself.
Steve Ross, author of Happy Yoga says, “If you can’t approve of yourself, then all is lost. The whole world can be on your side, but it you’re not on your side, then what’s the point”.. And he has a point.
Today our yoga class is about producing self love, and joy. So allow yourself, again, to smile. Allow yourself to laugh. Allow yourself to have fun. Do whatever it is in this next hour that makes you feel the most magnificent. If you need an hour of Savasana, please by all means, take it. Spend this time asking yourself, what would give me the greatest amount of joy? And listen to whatever directions come to you. 
If are looking to plant any further seeds of intention, or sankulpas for this class other than producing joy and self love, now is the time to plant that seed. Your body is the garden of your own design. And you get to harvest the fruits of your labour. 
Please take about three more deep, cozy, cleansing breaths here before rolling to your left side. 
(When your ready press your top hand into the floor to push yourself up and find yourself in a seated position….)