A Yogi’s Reflections on the Holiday Season & the Art of Happiness


We are actually getting into a time of 12 months when the have-s and the have-nots begin to be highlighted. Those that have massive households, huge houses and cash for the hallmark vacation and those that don’t. We’re inching in the direction of winter on a regular basis. The times are quick, the nights are lengthy. It’s chilly in the northern hemisphere. We’ve got much less mild. And now we have the approaching holidays – that in the euro-centric christian affect, have become consumerism at it’s worst.

We hoard meals on thanksgiving.

We over-purchase pointless presents for our family and friends for Christmas.

We drink an excessive amount of.

Some of us are simply triggered by unhealed household dynamics, and amidst the overeating, underneath exercising, alcohol induced “vacation”, this time typically ends in tears and deeper cuts then existed earlier than.

We lose our focus.

We inform ourselves that we are going to “take a break”, take “a vacation”, decelerate. However we don’t.

We don’t pair down as the winter asks of us.

We gorge. Our gluttony exposes itself in the worst time of 12 months to do exactly that.

We lower down bushes, cowl them in plastic trinkets, pretend snow, tinsel, solely to throw them out. To throw them out the place? Oh, proper, the dump … the imaginary place the place we expect we are able to “get rid” of issues, however now are discovering that no factor may be “thrown out”. It can wash up on our shores, and in the streets, and in the forests, in the air, and in the water, and in our vegatables and fruits. You may’t actually toss stuff out. It stays right here, in our dwelling, on the earth.

We expect we really feel good after we wrap issues in paper, solely to fill the rubbish cans. We expect that is what makes our youngsters blissful, that that is what father or mother does, that we’re succeeding in the vacation season. That’s if we are able to afford to do that.

Every little thing – our presents, our meals, our garments – is roofed in packaging and plastic and tape.

Shipped round in vans and airplanes.

What are we doing? I ask myself this each single 12 months. 

I’m not above this. I too purchase into this entire vacation present.

I’ve spent most of my life making an attempt to maintain up with it. I too need the huge household, the largest tree, the huge thanksgiving desk, the finest wrapped presents. I even go as far as pondering I need to be spending christmas in aspen and jetting off to st Barths for brand spanking new years.

I need all of it and but I don’t really agree with it. I’ve this cut up inside, this interior debate. And you recognize who wins each y


ear? The patron pushed voice. The one which jogs my memory I’ll really feel lonely, remoted, like I don’t belong if I don’t sustain. If I had children, I think about I’d really feel responsible if I raised them with out thanksgiving and yuletide. So many of my mates who’ve children say about the holidays “I don’t need to do it, however I’ve to do it for the children”.

If the household is disjointed, if you’re poor, for those who misplaced your job this 12 months, if you’re homeless, if you’re alone, for those who cant afford to splurge on all of these outer shopper tradition expressions of “I’m blissful” then how do you’re feeling about your self?

What does the tradition let you know about how you’re allowed to really feel about your self?

Its one other reminder of what you dont have.

Folks say, make your self really feel higher and exit to a soup kitchen or a homeless shelter and serve. That is lovely recommendation, and I agree with it. It exhibits us that in the finish, all that now we have is our service – to one another, to the planet, to the future human beings who will stroll this earth and breath this air and drink this water.

Regardless of how lovely that’s, one thing in our tradition nonetheless says – “you didn’t make it, hold making an attempt, possibly subsequent 12 months you’ll have, and one way or the other you’re much less of an individual for those who don’t have”.

The vacation season has develop into one other alternative to match your self to another person and really feel horrible.

One other alternative to rehearse the lack mentality that drives capitalism and shopper tradition, a tradition and mindset that’s destroying our connection to our best belongings (gratitude, service, creativeness, contentment, simplicity) and changing it with the slender minded obsession with shopping for, having, taking, becoming in, and letting consumption be an expression of our state of happiness.

How are we going to interrupt ourselves free from these chains? 

The earth can’t maintain this misuse of assets.

Our collective psyche can’t maintain the obsession with consumption, comparability, the haves and the have nots.

I’ve many mates which have.

I’ve many mates that haven’t.

We’re all equal in our humanity, our want to be blissful, our have to be liked, held, cherished, to relaxation, to be fed, to be silent and to be full with our communities, to snort and to share.

It begins with all of us breaking away from this dependancy to gluttony and damaging abundance.

It begins with breaking away from the incessant glorifying of having stuff. It begins with utilizing this time of 12 months to have fun decreasing our consumption and popularizing chopping the ties to extra.

It begins with re-evaluating these holidays as a collective.

It begins with sharing.

It begins with complete communities unplugging and unsubscribing from this nonsense.

It begins with logic. Eco-logic. Which in the finish is what the economic system is actually primarily based on, ecology.

Whether or not you may have cash or not, household or not, these holidays are hurting the soul of humanity and they’re hurting the earth.

Be trustworthy about it. Do extra of us really feel good throughout this time or horrible?

I each dread this time and do no matter I can to maintain up with what’s going to make me really feel accepted, like I belong, profitable, ample and “in the recreation”. I need to really feel ample and I don’t need to be left behind.


As a result of of covid, many of us are experiencing this deep unhappiness as a result of we can’t be along with our family members freely. I additionally sense that this unhappiness comes from the proven fact that covid cuts our ties with the glorification of some gluttonous occasion that makes us really feel like we’re competing effectively in the shopper pushed holidays. We’re each genuinely unhappy to not be collectively, and genuinely uncomfortable with out the entire shebang of the vacation.

I don’t have an answer for this vacation conundrum. I’m beginning with stating some of my private reactions to the vacation season, to what I observe in others, to what feels proper in relation to the earth, and to the actual artwork of happiness.

The artwork of happiness is one now we have but to grasp effectively in a capitalistic society.

There’s a collective soul beneath the floor, that though you your self could have “made it”, be doing the grandiose vacation, with cash in the financial institution and a giant blissful household, there’s something taking place deep in the soul of humanity when so so so many others are ignored. You may really feel it deep down inside, one thing isn’t proper.

After we go away others behind, when happiness in a tradition is outlined by one thing that not everybody has entry to, then now we have misplaced an understanding of the true artwork of happiness. 

For these of you who battle in the holidays, I hope you’re feeling much less alone studying this.

For many who don’t battle in the holidays, I hope you possibly can take a second to acknowledge that not everyone seems to be experiencing this time as you do, and that our tradition and society want assist in redefining what this time of 12 months is actually about. I additionally encourage you to ask your self, is it actually making you cheerful? And in that case, WHY?

We at all times have the possibility of re-evaluating and doing one thing completely different.

Who can be brave sufficient to interrupt ties with the previous damaging methods of holidaying?

Will you? Can we collectively?

heather_LHeather Lilleston is initially from Northern California, Heather has been instructing yoga since 2003.

She lived in NYC from 2000  – 2015, and now resides in Venice Seaside, California.

She started instructing yoga after finishing the Jivamukti Trainer Coaching with Sharon Gannon and David Life whereas ending her bachelors at New York College. In 2008, she accomplished the 800-hour Superior Certification with Jivamukti. Extra just lately, she has added a extra Iyengar primarily based method to yoga primarily based on her research with Colleen Saidman and Rodney Yee at the Yoga Shanti 300-hour instructor coaching in 2010, which she later assisted as a mentor, and teaches as a lead instructor.

She has skilled quite a few lecturers at Pure Yoga, The Shala, Yoga Vida and Yoga Shanti as a mentor and has been a contributing member of their respective instructor coaching applications. From 2012-2015, she revised the 200 hour Yoga Vida Trainer Coaching and Mentorship Curriculum, in addition to developed the 300 hour Superior Trainer Coaching Program for Yoga Vida whereas performing as Yoga Director. She continues to advise and contribute to curriculum in varied studios.

She is registered with Yoga Alliance as a 500 hour E-RYT.

She was acknowledged by Yoga Journal as one of the 50 innovators altering the recreation of the wellness trade, and held their cowl for the January/February 2017 subject.

Her lessons combine aligned primarily based vinyasa sequences with meditation, chanting, good music and religious philosophy. She is thought for her sweetness, humor, ardour, sincerity and enthusiasm.

In 2012, she Co-Based Yoga For Unhealthy Folks with Katelin Sisson, a yoga primarily based firm centered on main retreats worldwide. She primarily focuses on YFBP, main retreats, trainings, and lessons in NYC & LA.

She can be a senior instructor of The Class developed by Taryn Toomey.

In 2019, she grew to become a doctoral scholar, pursuing a Ph.D. in Medical Psychology at Pacifica Graduate Institute.

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