Welcome, December!

 Welcome, December!

By Jennifer Kelleher

As we welcome December, shorter days and longer nights guide us inward to remind us of our radiance and power. The darkness outside gifts us a beautiful opportunity to gather and remember that we hold an abundance of light inside our own bodies. As the mind focuses in, the light we carry is organically amplified and shared out with the world. Our sovereignty increases and our actions and presence are a more accurate representation of our true, heart-felt nature. Soon, the various pieces of our lives have no other option but to effortlessly follow suit.

December also carries celebrations that unite loved ones, illuminating towns, homes, and hearts. All around the world during this time of year, communities come together to celebrate different festivals of light. As we gather during the holidays, a concentration of love and joy occurs as a result of our collective focus and intention. This concentrated energy is powerful and has a very healing effect on our world.

Some of my priorities this December are: (1) To spend time with or acknowledge those I love and care for who are still present in body; (2) To demonstrate kindness and gratitude; (3) To remember my loved ones who have passed with gratitude and joy; (4) To hold in my prayers, those who are suffering during this holiday season.

This month at Ocean Bliss Yoga, we introduce two focuses to help keep us calm, grounded, grateful, and joyful during this season of light.

Our first focus this month is santosha, or ‘contentment.’ In practicing Santosha, we accept and appreciate what we have and who we are in real time. Instead of focusing on things outside of ourselves and thinking, “I will be happy when…,” we drop into our bodies in this present moment and realize that the happiness our mind seeks is and has always been right here. From this place of acceptance, gratitude, and contentment we can move forward in deep alignment.

Santosha comes from an abundance mindset and is intertwined with vairagya (non-attachment). We are the peace and happiness, and we reside within our bodies. The realization that we are the pleasant vibrations that the mind seeks, and body craves redirects our focus from outside, in. As the mind settles into our innate abundant nature, it finds santosha and we become deeply fulfilled.

Our second focus this month is pranayama, or breathwork. Pranayama is the fourth limb of yoga and is often referred to as the heart of yoga. ‘Prana’ is a Sanskrit word that means, ‘life force,’ and it describes the energy that sustains the life of the body. The second part of the word, ‘yama’, translates to mean, ‘control.’ Ancient yogis knew that breath is life, and while it is something we do automatically and involuntarily, it should not be taken for granted. Bringing consciousness and intention to the breath elevates the body, mind, and spirit.

Pranayama can quickly and effectively change our state and increase our vitality. The list of benefits that result from practicing pranayama seems to go on forever. We can use pranayama techniques to decrease stress, balance the brain and body, improve sleep, increase mental clarity and focus, improve energy, decrease cravings, and so much more. Different pranayama exercises have different effects. Some, for example, calm the nervous system, while others energize the brain and body. Having a variety of pranayama techniques in your wellness toolkit to call upon as you go through your days can be incredibly effective in helping you stay balanced and optimally functioning, no matter your circumstances.

I invite you to join us at Ocean Bliss Yoga for daily classes and monthly specialty workshops. Browse our full list of offerings and sign up at oceanblissyoga.net. Call or text me (Jen) with any questions at 917-318-1168.

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