Holiday Traditions and the Restorative Practice of Closing and Opening

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Holiday Traditions and the Restorative Practice of Closing and Opening

By Cindy Michaels

As we grow closer to Christmas and prepare for a new year, I’m reminded of one of my favorite yoga poses – the child’s pose. Reflective of its name, this melting of the body with the floor, knees tucked under the torso, arms reaching outward has the power to transport students back to a place in their minds where they felt innocent and less troubled than their adult selves. Even students who are brand new to yoga can go straight into that pose without much, if any, direction. It’s a restorative pose that not only gives our muscles and ligaments permission to rest, but it also rewinds our minds, taking us back to a place without mortgages, health scares and losses that flood our grownup thoughts. It’s both a closing and an opening — like December.

Last week, we closed our fall yoga session at Wrens Nest and are now taking time to prepare for and enjoy the holidays until we start back up the week of January 8. It’s a truly special time of year for me — this closing and opening. In our family, traditions are very important, especially around the holidays. I’m reminded of my own childhood and the traditions that are ingrained in my heart, and I’m continually finding myself open to new traditions as my family has expanded. This year, my youngest daughter, Hannah, was married. I see in her as well as in my other children, Drew and Amanda, the celebration of our family’s holiday traditions and the welcoming of new traditions they share with their spouses and children. It’s bittersweet for me, as I’m often reminded of loss in the midst of celebration this time of year. But like the child’s pose, I find comfort in the restorative practice of giving your body and mind time to rest in a place that feels safe, then gradually opening up to different ways of celebrating and pushing forward into the newness.

My prayer for our Wrens Nest community is that we each take this time to let our minds rest amidst the hustle of the holidays, and that we allow ourselves to sink into the comfort of tradition and come away open to the new year, with peace and confidence in challenging ourselves to embrace opportunities to seek, stretch and soar in 2018.

As always, may you be filled with loving-kindness. May you be well. May you be happy. May you live your lives and this day at ease and peace.

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