By Brenda Strong
I have a confession to make. I have been stressed out lately. Yes, even yoga teachers can let life circumstances get the best of them.
The Holidays can be a challenging time for most of us. We all long for closeness of family, warmth and an intimacy that may resemble our favorite memories from childhood. If our childhood memories of family don't fill us with warmth, we may seek out a fantasy of what we think family could be that it wasn't. Either way, the holidays can fill us with a mixture of feelings that may be difficult to navigate; and unfulfilled expectations can leave us feeling lonely, especially if the family we long for isn't created yet.
For many of us going through reproductive difficulties, it may be a time filled with sadness, longing, isolation and stress. How can we navigate through this time without having a nervous breakdown or going into a depression? The key is found in a word that is tossed around the holidays a lot. Presents. But instead of the kind that are tied up neatly in a bow with beautiful paper, the kind I'm talking about is free and available to us at all times. Presence. It is learning to be present, that allows us to receive the greatest gifts in life, the ones that touch our hearts, give us hope and connect us to ourselves, our bodies and each other.
How does one become present? It's simple. The quickest way to become present is through our breath. Simply observing the breath as it passes through us, and watching it, brings us fully into this moment. When we watch the breath and are present, the body does a miraculous thing. It opens. And when our bodies open, our monkey mind slows down and so does our heart rate, and we become aware. When we become present to what we are feeling, we give these sensations an opportunity to release their power over us. When we are in the presence of pure awareness, there is an opportunity to release the baggage of the past and the fearful projections of the unknown future. There is just NOW. And inside now, there is nothing to resist or grasp at, there is just what is. There is a simplicity of BEING. From this short time of connecting to our breathing, we are able to de-stress the body, release anxiety and receive the gift of this moment. As we do this, we can start to string those moments together, and before we know it, we are on the other side of our feelings peacefully.
So this Holiday Season, as you gather together your presents for others, don't forget to give yourself the gift of the PRESENT moment.
Someone once said, “The past is history, the future a mystery, and the present moment is all we have...that is why it is called a 'gift'."
Just remember, to receive the gift of life all you have to do is take it one breath at a time... :-)
Na "mama" ste
Brenda Strong is a certified 500hr E-RYT who created the Strong Yoga4Fertility program to help women worldwide. She is the first national spokesperson for The American Fertility Association as well as a member of the board of directors. Her day job is playing “Mary Alice Young” on DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES.