Healthy, Happy & Wise: Do less – enjoy more

Written by Cynthia Smith-Faught. Posted in Health & Wellness

Published on December 21, 2011 with No Comments

This column is a guide only for the general population. Not all practices are good for everybody. Please consult with your health practitioner before engaging in physical movement and positions. Having a physical presence with a teacher is always best. These instructions can offer a guide to the basic practice of yoga and the poses.

This time of year can be hectic for many of us. There is a contradiction of rhythms occurring. Our natural rhythm calls us to slow down, be more reflective and hibernate.

The rhythm of our culture is telling us to rev up, shop till we drop, indulge, do, do, and do more. Many years ago, I, too, subscribed to a more-commercial Christmas, always looking for the next thing to do, buy or celebrate.I enjoyed the excessive lights, parties and all the activities that surround this holiday season. I still enjoy a small bit of that aspect but it is considerably less today. I love this time of year but I enjoy a more calming, peaceful experience. I find ways to celebrate by unplugging from the commercial trends and seek more traditional celebrations.

There are a few local traditions which I love to attend each year when I can: Christmas on the Farm at Countryside Park, Christmas in the Dunes at Chelberg Farm, Save the Tunes at the Visitor Center and I always take my grandson to see the lights at Sunset Hill Farm. These are not flashy activities and they require a bit more imagination, but they aren’t expensive either and they are full of the spirit of Christmas and the Holy Days Season.

Our sister practice of Yoga is Ayurveda, this practice teaches us about the different constitutions we all inhabit, Pitta, Vata, and Kapha. This season is Vata which when too stimulated, like in our culture, increases stress, anxiety and fear. All of which we already have too much of in any time of year.  Soften the edges of excess by taking time to look at what is really important for you this time of year and consider doing a few things less. During this season of giving and receiving, take time to really feel the joy, peace and generosity of your gifting that is channeled through your love and not through expectation.

 Enjoy the simple things in your life as the true gifts; time shared with loved ones, anonymously gifting to another and helping out when it is not being watched or suggested.

Also during this time find ways to nurture yourself with healthy foods like homemade soups or just enjoy a cozy evening nestled with cocoa and good friends. Start a caroling group and visit some of your elderly neighbors who might not get out as much. Take a walk in your local park and watch nature preparing for winter. Watch the skies and the shifting pattern of the sun moving to the south. The natural rhythm is calling us to slow down, do less and enjoy more.

Our practice this month is to just sit and look out a window.

Find a window view, from your home, a coffee shop, your office or over lunch anywhere you can be alone and undisturbed from your watching

Enjoy a warm beverage and just watch the happenings outside, don’t read or write, just watch without judgment or without having to name anything (for instance if you know the names of birds or trees and have opinion of whatever you are looking at, let that go and open yourself to just watch and feel the experience of watching the patterns unfold).

Open your heart to feel the joy of this season, feel the gift for yourself and then feel it extending out into the room and then out to the world

Do Less, Enjoy More, Find Peace

Merry Christmas, Season’s Greetings, Happy Holy Days and Happy New Year!

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About Cynthia Smith-Faught

All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Chronicle. Cynthia Smith-Faught is a certified yoga instructor. She teaches adult classes and workshops through the Portage Parks Dept. She also teaches at the Bonner Senior Center in Portage. To contact Cynthia Smith-Faught email her at

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