It’s that time of the year when both the positive and sometimes painful stresses of the season begin to build.  Temptations to neglect body and soul come in many forms: overbooking social events, not drinking enough water, and mindless eating of holiday goodies are three I anticipate will greet me again this year.

My daily centering prayer time and regular yoga practice are two primary ways I maintain my alignment with myself and stay rooted in God’s love. They are essential parts of maintaining my physical, psychological and spiritual health. When my spiritual tank is empty from not praying, and I’m disconnected from my body because I’ve not been practicing yoga, I’m more likely to ignore the signals that tell me to slow down, drink water, and stay away from the sugary treats that show up everywhere this time of year.

My former pastor Bob Whitaker used to tell us that people got sick at the holidays from eating too much sugar.  I snickered then, but wondered if there wasn’t some truth in his folk wisdom.  Now I learn, in my wise adult life, that in fact sugar does deplete my immune system and make me more prone to infection. My intention is to enjoy a little bit of the things I especially love — like my own Famous Irish Toffee and the Cobb Family’s homemade fudge — but to keep a kind and loving bridle on the part of me that wants to eat the whole batch before it’s even cooled down!

As you give thanks this week and start filling your calendar with holiday commitments, staying connected to the One from whom all good things come will be good for both your body and your soul.

What helps you stay connected to yourself and what holds you together when life gets stressful? Imagine how different the next six weeks would be if you dedicated even five minutes a day to writing a gratitude list, praying a psalm of thanksgiving, meditating on God’s love or some other soulful practice.

Yoga is an excellent way to nurture both your body and soul.

I teach Christ-centered yoga classes weekly at Glendale Presbyterian Church. You are welcome to “drop in” to my Wednesday 6:15 p.m. class. We’ll be meeting on 11/23, 11/30, 12/7, 12/21.  If you need directions or details, please contact me.

Also, my new favorite yoga resource is Yogaglo –  an online yoga studio you can access from the convenience of your own home.  I have been a member for several months and love it!  It’s an excellent source for everything from beginners and five-minute routines to two-hour advanced level backbend and inversion practices.  There’s something for everyone.  Check it out and get a free two-week trial membership.

What will you do to stay connected to yourself and the One from whom all good things come during this season of celebration?   Your good health is worth at least five minutes a day, isn’t it?