you, yoga, the shortest day and the spirit of Christmas

We’re fast approaching Christmas and the period of festivities to follow and, depending on how things are going in your world, you may be enjoying a sense of anticipation and excitement, stress at the prospect of how you’re going to get through it all or perhaps complete ambivalence towards the whole thing. Or perhaps you’re somewhere along the scales of balance in your feelings and attitude. I don’t know.


However you feel, the first bit of good news is that it’s the shortest day today, which means it’s only going to get lighter from here on in!  Roll on summer, you might be thinking, and, whilst the prospect of longer, warmer days is very tempting (to me at least), it’s important to be in the moment, make the most of the present and seize the day (whichever phrase most appeals to you).  We may perhaps spend a lot of our lives anticipating and looking forward to things, but, in  doing so, we can forget to be in the moment we only really have, the here and now, the present.

Life is not always easy and we may, on occasions, wish to be elsewhere, with other people, doing something different, want to be with friends and loved ones or perhaps take some time out alone. We may be grieving for lost ones, broken relationships, coming to terms and coping with illness, lost jobs or difficult working environments: the list of potential challenges and difficulties in life may be endless.  Christmas and New Year can be difficult times for many, who may feel even more isolated when comparing themselves with others, who are (apparently) completely enjoying the seasonal fun and jollity! So please spare a thought (or several) and offer help to those less fortunate where you are able this festive season.

I think we’ve probably all had our share of ups and downs in life and it is experiences along the spectrum of life that help us develop into the fully rounded human beings we are, allowing us to experience the circle of life.  All things pass, as the saying goes, and therein lies the wisdom to weather the storms and enjoy the warm, balmy summers along our journey called life.

Which brings me back to the present. I am looking forward to Christmas this year. I can remember a time when I wasn’t and those memories, whilst still vivid, no longer define who I am.  Yoga has helped me learn to be able to live better in the present and has helped me on a number of levels. I would commend it to you all.  It has given me the awareness and confidence for self-expression and I am writing this because of yoga.

If you’ve read this far, thank you for your patience. Like us all, I am an imperfect human being, seeking to make sense of my life, to live and enjoy life as well as I can, sharing my journey with those whose lives I touch and who touch mine.  We are all the same in this and, yet, all special and individual.

We celebrate Christmas in four days’ time. If you are a Christian, you will celebrate the birth of Jesus who came to bring Light into the world.  If not, you may be celebrating other aspects of your lives, possibly with family and friends, or perhaps even on your own. Whatever you believe, wherever you are and whoever you’re with, I wish you well and send you joy to celebrate the miracle of life that we share.

Aside from faith, yoga teaches us that there is a light within each one of us that shines brightly from the centre of our heart. That is our true self, our spirit.  This Christmas and New Year, in a world so full of uncertainty, pain and sorrow for some, enjoy and celebrate and also allow your own beacon of light to shine forth, to spread friendship, love and peace in the world.

Love, light and all good wishes for peace, health and happiness. xx


© Sarah Swan (21 December 2016)

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