All year round, you give and give and give. The expectation during the holidays is that you continue to give, possibly even with more gusto than the other 11 months of the year. The spirit of the holidays is easily lost in the pressure to deliver. This month we’re focusing on generous giving’s opposite: gracious receiving.
Starting a meditation practice is one of the most satisfying ways to manifest the spirit of receiving, because meditation is a gift to yourself. It’s also a very challenging part of yoga. The eight-limbed path of yoga states pretty clearly that maintaining meditation as part of your life is harder than a physical asana practice on your mat. We are much more likely to attempt a physical practice for 90 minutes than to try and sit still, with our own thoughts, for even 5 minutes. When we’re sitting with ourselves, we become desperate for distraction, movement, basically anything that keeps us from having to deal with the stuff that starts to arise when we’re asked to sit and withdraw.
As an end-of-year gift/challenge, try this short, five-minute meditation every day for the month of December: sit comfortably in Sukhasana on a blanket or cushion. Rest your hands on top of your knees, and close your eyes (you may want to set a non-jarring alarm, so you’re not tempted to watch the clock). Draw your focus first to your breath, concentrating on lengthening out the intake and deepening the exhale. As you take in a long breath, feel the prana (energy) at the base of your spine slowly move up toward the crown of your head, carrying with it the stress, anxiety, and the “stuff” that adds only heaviness and prevents you from seeing your true self. And as you exhale, feel the “stuff” dissipate out the top of your skull, like smoke rising. Chant the word Satyam: Sat as you inhale, Yam as you exhale and release. In Sanskrit, Sat means what is true and real, while Yam means to hold. Together they create Satyam: holding the truth.
In your efforts to manifest truth through meditation, and you become truth. Happy Holidays.