Yoga first draws us inward, so that we are not purely reactive organisms, responding to our base desires and fears and the fluctuations of our environment. Through this, we cultivate a capacity to see ourselves in relationship with mankind, nature, and the cosmos.
The holidays are upon us again. These (formerly) holy days that we celebrate were shrewdly aligned to honor or negate the pagan celebrations that marked the passing of the seasons. At the heart of this annual (solar) rythym is a cycle of giving thanks for what we have received from a period of growth, an awareness of the impending coldness and darkness (and struggle for survival), the ultimate hope that carries us through dark times, and a celebration of renewal. Our modern lives are so disconnected with the natural rythms that defined these holy days that it’s easy to forget that Earth’s rythms are the root of our experience of gratitude, fear, and hope, and renewal.
I embrace this season, not for its commericial or religious interpretations, but as an occassion to connect with nature’s cycles, and to articulate these common experiences of gratitude, hope, and joy with my community. Whether it’s a Christmas party, lighting a Hanukiah, gift giving, or a quiet contemplation of life, recall that the root of this season, and all holidays, is to reconnect to the very human experience of nature.