Happy Thursday Yogis! We are in the middle of our special Holiday Yamas Practices! December is the holiday season for many worldwide nations, cultures, and religions, so this ties in with most other holiday seasons our Yogis may celebrate. I will continue my nerdy research through the month and tie in our practices with world holidays if they tie in with our daily practices… please contact me if you have any requests or suggestions!
Holiday Yamas Practice Schedule
We are on our third day counting down the 5 Yamas with 5 days of Ahimsa (non-harming), 4 days of Satya (truthfulness), and 3 days of Asteya (non-stealing) before we have a full week of Brahmacharya for the week of Christmas in the United States.. a time that I will enjoy the focus on moderation! We will focus on a different way to practice each of these Yamas each day.
Holiday Season – Hanukkah
Today is Hanukkah – Happy Hanukkah to all Yogis who celebrate! This holiday is a winter festival of lights.. we will notice many cultures celebrate festivals of lights near the winter solstice – Diwali was just a couple of weeks ago! I grew up outside of Boston and loved celebrating friends’ Hannukkah traditions – especially the Latkes! Hanukkah is celebrated over 8 days beginning at sunset today, commemorating the 8 days of light from the traditional story. Today’s quote on kindness is one of my favorites, and is from the Talmud – a sacred text that includes the story of Hanukkah. PS – since I am a linguistics nerd… both Hanukkah and Chanukah are correct spellings – the latter is a more traditional transliteration from Hebrew to English!
Today is also International Animal Rights Day and Human Rights Day. Hanukkah is a community holiday, with many celebrants attending religious services each day of the festival. So today we will focus on practicing Ahimsa (non-harming) with others today. Yogis can choose to help either the Human or Animal members of our community today.
- Consider making a donation to the World Wildlife Fund to help protect endangered animals and their environments! I am an animal lover and environmentalist, this one is near and dear to me, but I apologize for repeating over and over 🙂
- Adopt a pet from a shelter! Save a life, and enrich your own! My animal companions make me much happier.
- If you are an animal lover who cannot commit to pet ownership, volunteer to help support your local shelter! They always need cuddlers, walkers, and foster families as much if not more than financial support.
- Consider participating in a traditional holiday toy drive like Angel Tree and Toys for Toys drives.
- Donate food or (they prefer) cash to your local food bank.
- Donate to any charitable cause that is meaningful to you – education, children, seniors, environmental, spiritual, health, or other charitable organizations… whatever resonates to you, give your support to something you care about!
- Consider making a donation in loved ones’ names in their honor this year if they insist they do not want a gift.
- Help a friend or family member – reach out and ask what you can do to make things better for them during these stressful times!
- Whatever feels like the right way for you to actively practice kindness and generosity with others, or to make someone else smile today.
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Please comment and share how you decided to practice Ahimsa with yourself today. How did it make you feel? Always remember, be kind!