Give Thanks, Be Merry, & Practice Ahimsa

The Holiday Season is officially in full swing, which means it's time for giving, receiving, and enduring those insufferable family reunions.

Admit it: although this is meant to be a joyous time of year, often times it is far too easy to fall into Negative Nancy's trap every now and then.

For some, the holidays can bring forth painful memories that lead to unpleasant emotional responses. For others, they're just a little on edge because they can't be in the same room with their mother-in-law for more than twenty seconds without grinding their teeth to dust.

In regard to the latter, I have a simple mind-trick that may help you ease the tension at your next family gathering.

During my 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training, we paid close attention to B.K.S Iyengar's book Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. Upon graduating, we were asked to select a sutra and speak on it during the ceremony. Though many of Patanjali's words resonated with me, there was one sutra in particular that stood out among the rest. Perhaps it had something to do with the current state of our world; perhaps it was purely personal. Whatever the reason, I clung to sutra II.35 – one of many that describe the effects of observing the five yamas, or ethical disciplines, of yogic philosophy.

Sutra II.35 is all about Ahimsa: the first of the five yamas and one that I've touched on before. In this text, Iyengar illustrates this idea that the violence we witness and experience in the world is simply a result of our own inner violence.

In English, Sutra II.35 translates to the following: “When non-violence in speech, thought and action is established, one's aggressive nature is relinquished and others abandon hostility in one's presence.”

This made me realize something that I may have always known on a subconscious level: we are all walking mirrors. What we receive from another is exactly what we are giving, and vice versa. What we see in another – good or bad – is simply a projection of what we see in ourselves. Our outer world is merely a reflection of our inner world. What we focus on expands. So, if you spend your time focusing on your mother-in-laws judgmental attitude or lack of culinary skill, your reality will ultimately be flooded with judgment and unsatisfactory cooking.

In other words: if someone is getting on your nerves, you should start by looking inward and investigating how you are thinking, speaking, and acting toward this person. Perhaps they are simply mirroring your perception of reality. The path to peace and non-harm starts from within, and until we've learned to address our own inner violence, we will only ever find discomfort and unease in our physical reality.

It's simple, really.

If you want more love, be more loving.

If you want more respect, be more respectful.

If you want more recognition, recognize the greatness in others.

If you want more appreciation, appreciate all that you have.

(I said simple, not easy.)

So, go out there and tackle those holiday get-togethers with a fresh perspective and good intentions. Be mindful of your thoughts, words, and actions, and watch how others respond differently in your presence.

I hope you find this post helpful, and if you do, we'd love to hear about your new healthy lifestyle! Get in touch with us on the Mountain Yoga Studio Facebook page, or @mountainyogastudio on Instagram.

And on behalf of Mountain Yoga Studio, we are so grateful for each and every one of you.


1. In case you missed it, our prices have changed! From now on, for only $68 every month, you have unlimited access to our studio. Not ready to commit just yet? No worries, drop in and take a class for just $10!

2. Have you heard the news? We've opened a boutique inside the studio! There, you can find some of your favorite yoga-wear (including Bella, Spiritual Gangster, the list goes on!) just in time for the holidays! Come on down to the studio to get a closer look and be prepared to update your wishlist!


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If so, today is your lucky day! With your head in the books, the light at the end of the tunnel can appear so dim. We get it. That's why we're offering you a 30% Monthly Unlimited (Yoga, Cycling, or Flex) discount between now and May of 2019!

Your mental and physical health are our top priority. Drop in for a visit to rediscover your light!