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Christmas a time to replenish and rest??

HoHoHo - the festive season is here, and I love it.

I know not everyone enjoys Christmas, for some it is a highly stressful time, with unhappy memories, and whilst many of us enjoy time off and rest, for others it is the busiest time of the year. But I have always loved Christmas, I love the decorations, the songs (well maybe not all of them!), and over the past few years I have learned to love the Christmas jumper too. That said, I am not an over the top Christmas person, my decorations will not go up until a few days before the big day, and I like to find Christmas presents that are wanted, not expensive gifts given for the sake of it. Christmas is a holiday time, the one time of year I can switch off, enjoy hanging out with family and rest and breathe, it's my relaxation time, my savasana at the end of the year.

Savasana - the relaxation pose, the symbol of the rest time at the end of each yoga class. Like Christmas, most people love it, or will tolerate it, but there are those who hate it, will feel like it is a waste of time and would rather leave class before everyone settles down on the mat, to rest. But it is one of the most important parts of anyone's practice. The trouble is it asks us to switch off, to allow ourselves "to do nothing" for a short while, and this is challenging. It can leave us starkly facing the busyness of our minds when we feel the mind is supposed to be quiet, and maybe facing the thoughts we don't want to have to face.

But that rest time is so important, it is when we recover, it is when we replenish our energy, our body grows stronger, and yes when our minds grow stronger too as we practice trying to let the thoughts come into our head and not follow them. Any rest is important, our body knows that, that's why it asks us to go to sleep at night. Longer periods of rest such as holidays are key for resting the body and mind and to replenish our energy too.

So if you struggle with savasana at the end of a class try these do's and don'ts

1 Do make sure you feel comfortable, use cushions and blankets if you need it. If you can't lie, or sit comfortably you can't relax.

2 DO make your resting environment feel peasant, again you need to f

eel comfortable to relax

2 DON'T worry about the mind to start it will take longer to learn to switch off than the body

3 DON'T follow your thoughts when they come into your head, notice that you have thought something and then try to tell yourself to ignore the thought

4 DON'T get cross with yourself if you do follow your thoughts and start to think about something

5 DO try to enjoy it, this is valuable time for yourself

6 DO recognise that this isn't doing nothing, but is valuable self care tim

e to keep you happy, healthy and in peak fitness

I like to challenge everyone at this time of year to stay focused on finding that relaxation time, that time to replenish and rest, even if it is only for 5 minutes! However that might look for you, take a walk and enjoy the fresh air, sit and stare into the fire, or read a good book. But whatever you think of relaxing see if you can learn the benefit of it, so that as we come out of Christmas and into the New Year we can all try to feel happy, healthy and in peak fitness

But yes if you see me this Christmas season I will be enjoying myself, I will be embracing my rest time, and yes I will be loving all that symbolises Christmas - they are the symbols of my relaxation time.

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