Getting Real About Mindfulness - Guest Post by Erica - Blogmas Day 4


The practice of mindfulness is tough.  On the surface, it’s a yoga buzzword that makes us feel warm and fuzzy when we think of it but mindfulness is easily forgotten. With the holidays fast approaching, getting a better grasp on mindfulness can help us enjoy each moment to the fullest.

Dear reader, I present to you: a few ways to be more mindful this holiday season.

Sleep Mindfully With our hearts dedicated to giving our time, our energy, and our attention to others, we may let our personal health and wellbeing get pushed into the background.  Since we dedicate our daytime to others, we should at least permit ourselves to enjoy a restful night’s sleep. This will help us maintain our health, fend off illness, better manage stress, and be in the best mood possible for our social and professional commitments each day. The best gift that you can give to others is you at 100%!

Breathe Mindfully If your yoga practice is anything like mine, you may find yourself focusing disproportionately on your strength and flexibility. This is the perfect time of year to refocus on yogic breathing. Pranayama exercises can improve memory function (ideal during the season of list making) while helping us feel more focused, grounded, and confident throughout the day. We can also get a lot of thinking done in the meditation exercises that follow pranayama; active thinking isn’t the goal of meditation but it’s something we usually end of doing out of habit. It can be to our benefit. Quiet times help us sort out things that have been weighing heavily on us, or reveal issues that we’ve been trying to ignore. Making time for pranayama gives us the focus and inward peace needed to thrive even with a busy schedule.

Shop Mindfully Many of us will be searching for the perfect gifts for our friends and family.  While a lot of us focus on the gifts’ recipients, the gifts’ creators could also benefit from our mindfulness. Who created the gift that you’re buying? Were they paid a fair wage for their effort and creativity? How much does your business really matter to the distributor? Consider shopping Fair Trade this season and #shoplocal rather than throwing more cash at big box stores. Both decisions allow you to see precisely how your dollars work and benefit local communities.
Since I began shopping at The Cupbearer and Altar’d State, I’ve seen so much growth! I know that my contributions and those of my neighbors have spurred their expansion because I we know the owners. We can reach out and talk to them. When I make purchases at Ten Thousand Villages and Fed by Threads it gives me peace to know that the artisan received fair wages. I also know when, where, and how the gifts were made. Can you say any of that when you shop at big box stores?

Play Mindfully You already know that you should make the time for yoga even on your busiest days but did you also know that you shouldn’t feel guilty about it? You shouldn’t feel rushed, either. Enjoy every minute of your time on the mat as a special gift to yourself because that is precisely what it is! Sure, you could be doing something “productive”—scrubbing your apartment from top to bottom in preparation for the upcoming party or browsing Pinterest to ensure that your centerpiece is trending—but you’ve chosen to be mindful of your physical, mental, and spiritual health. You should be proud of your decision and play joyfully!

Erica Rascon is a professional writer based in Atlanta, GA. In her free time, she enjoys writing about yoga, archery, gardening and green living. Check out her work at

Thanks for visiting Yoga With Karel! (:  Come back tomorrow for another post for Blogmas.
Missed yesterday's post? See it here.

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  1. Sleep, my wife and I were just talking about that. With all of the holiday parties, family gatherings, and corporate fiscal year-ends, sleep is left aside. Hit the nail right in the head! It's important to get good sleep to be our best for others. Put the mask over your face first, before helping others.

  2. Loving this series, Karel. And thank you for the wonderful post, Erica!