At the end of her yoga classes Source Yoga Center teacher Barb Manley will often chant Om Shanti Shanti Shanti which can mean may there be peace within your body, your mind and your heart. It is also meant as a prayer asking the creator or the God of your experience to ask for peace from the world around you. It is needed now more than ever.

As we struggle with our life circumstances, especially during this long-running pandemic and add to that the holiday season yoga is a practice that invites you to cultivate peaceful presence within. It takes effort and conscious awareness along with dedication to be in this state of peace. Dedicated yoga practitioners know the power of the practice happens with a daily commitment in order to reap the benefits.

Consider starting your day with the practices of yoga that include breathing exercises to access your parasympathetic nervous system as well as meditation to quiet and calm your mind. Then the physical practice of asana any time of the day that works for you helps you to release pent up energy along with stiffness and pain so your body feels better. These practices anchor you in a peaceful presence that not only you will feel but those around you will as well.

With Black Friday behind us many buy presents online for their friends and family. Consider that one of the best gifts you can give someone is your peaceful presence. To truly listen and hear another fully is a practice as well. We can be easily distracted or caught up in our own thoughts when we are conversing with another. Being fully peacefully present without judgment or a need to respond immediately is truly a gift.

I have found that by fostering my daily practice that I am less reactive in a situation and more responsive. Often, I take a few deep breaths before responding in a situation that has triggered me in order to practice my yoga off the mat. This works when driving in traffic as well- that way I don’t let some situation outside of myself “steal my peace.” And I remember and chant Om Shanti Shanti Shanti.

May you and your family have a peaceful holiday season.

Janie Gunn

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