Fall Was Full Of Yoga

By Colleen Saidman Yee, November, 2014

We hope that your fall was full of yoga, and that the upcoming holidays—and the winter as a whole—will continue to find you inspired. We’ve had a hectic schedule this fall, and haven’t had as much face time with you as we would have liked to. Thank you for continuing to show up, keeping the yoga buzz alive and well.

We know that the holidays can be an intense time for so many reasons. The void of loved ones no longer walking the earth seems vaster at this time. We also tend to put ourselves on a scale as we approach the end of the year, to see how we’re adding up in the different realms of our lives. Whether we’re judging ourselves on relationships, finances, or careers, there seems to be an evaluation process.

Reflection is good as long as you keep it in perspective. And the best way to do that is to keep showing up on your mat with your body and breath, and finding the space to hold it all. Listen to your body. It doesn’t like to be overextended, and will revolt by getting sick.

We recommend a few things to get you through the holidays. The most important is rest. The world is so much bleaker when we’re exhausted. Instead of the extra cocktail, set yourself up in viparita karani with an eye bag, and elongate your exhalation. It can be so tempting to forgo practice when you’re feeling down or anxious. This is when your practice is the most important.

Don’t miss pranayama. It can set your nervous system on chill for the whole day. Take a step back from family drama by lying in savasana: feel the expanse of the whole earth beneath you. Feel your back body become wider and wider. When you get up and re-enter the family, keep dropping back into the embrace of your back body. Notice the triggers that family can so easily invoke, and, before you react, lean back and give yourself an extra breath.

Make lists to help you feel less overwhelmed, and reward yourself with a new pair of socks or a foot massage or whatever your treat may be when you tick three things off.

Besides plenty of rest, practice, perspective, making lists, and rewarding yourself, the best way to find peace is service, in whatever way resonates with you. So light a candle for a loved one, have a good cry, then think of a funny story about them, and have a good laugh.

The gift giving and the financial burden associated with the holidays can be a drain. Maybe instead of buying a gift for a friend, agree to have face time with each other. Meet at Common Ground or Jack’s, and for the price of a cup of coffee, come away with something far more valuable than another scarf. But, don’t over-obligate either.

Geez, it is such a balancing act.

Be easy on yourself, because you’re pretty great no matter what that imaginary scale says. And, as Pattabhi Jois used to say, “Practice, practice, practice, and all is coming.”

Keep spreading the love throughout this holiday season. We hope to see a lot of you in the upcoming months. We are home and can’t wait to reconnect

Much Love,

Colleen (and Rodney)

Colleen Saidman Yee

A graduate of Jivamukti’s 1998 teacher-training program, Colleen opened Yoga Shanti, in Sag Harbor, in 1999. She has taught several teacher trainings at Yoga Shanti, some with her husband, Rodney Yee. The New York Times christened Colleen "The First Lady of Yoga," and has also been featured in Vanity Fair, New York magazine, Oprah, Marie-Claire, Allure, and Yoga Journal. Before that she had a varied career: She was a cover girl, a student of shiatsu, and she lived in Calcutta, working with Mother Theresa at the Home for the Dying and Destitute. More recently, together with Rodney, Colleen helped to create Urban Zen's Integrative Yoga Therapist Program, Donna Karan’s worldwide initiative. Colleen's latest yoga DVD is "Calorie Killer Yoga." Colleen is a co-founder of Yoga Shanti New York.

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