The Gifts of Christmas and Yoga

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When one becomes a devoted student of Yoga, everything in life takes on a richer meaning. Magical connections appear where no apparent correlation may have existed. Yoga and Christmas are an example of this. These two universal gifts complement each other and are meant to be received by the whole world. Just as Yoga is accessible to ALL, so too is the message of Christmas. They each bring the gift of light, joy, and freedom, and our shared humanity is revealed through their essence.

The Gift of Light

The birth of Jesus Christ represents the dawn of divine light breaking through the darkness. Christmas is the day we celebrate Christ coming into our world, inviting us to receive the gift of divine light. So who or what is the source of this light? Jesus Christ says in John's gospel, "I AM the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life. The light of life is the great I Am." As Ravi Ravindra points out in his course Yoga of the Christ, this is not an egoic statement by Jesus, but rather shows that he has so completely emptied himself to do the will of God.

When is the perfect time to receive this gift? NOW is always the appointed time to welcome the light of Christmas. Like Sutra 1.1 states: "Here, now, is the teaching of Yoga." It can also be said: Here, now is the dawn of light coming into the world.

Christ was born when the darkness was great. We have all walked through dark days in these last few years. For many people, myself included, there are many questions still left unanswered and it is easy to get discouraged, wondering: When will things shift? When will this season pass? When will the light return to stay? There is a longing to trust and know that the darkness won't last forever, that the tide will turn and we are safe to rest in the promise that light will find us.

Christmas is the perfect time to remember that the light will always return. In truth, the light has never left.

When light appears in our lives, it illuminates everything. Like yoga, to welcome the light is a practice. It requires preparing the body, mind, and heart to receive this sacred gift. Ravi tells us, "Until I become aware of my shadow side, I cannot come to the Light in myself." We no longer need to reject the darkness within, we can allow it to be felt through the body without fear of being swallowed by it because we have faith that the Light is guiding us. "The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it," (John's gospel).

The Gift of Giving

Christmas and yoga teach us about giving - Did you know that giving is actually a gift? Take a moment to recall a time when you took great care to give the perfect gift to someone you love. Do you remember the feeling of excitement in your heart as they began to unwrap the package? Do you remember that special moment when the recipient looked into your eyes with gratitude after having opened it? In that instant, both giver and receiver disappear and what remains is simply love. Perhaps for the first time, you actually see one another through the eyes of the heart.

Giving is a shared experience.

There's a verse in the Bible that says, "When you give to those in need, don't let your right hand know what your left hand is doing." What that says to me is when we can give to others, not from obligation, not from expectation, but rather from a place of love, not even a "Thank You" is needed. We give and then let go. It is liberating, it is freeing, to give from this place of non-attachment. Like yoga, giving is a practice. It becomes more than transactional, more than something you check off your list, stressing about whether you're going to be the best gift giver. Giving is an opportunity to reveal, and revel in, our oneness.

The Gift of Oneness

Christmas and yoga offer the gift of oneness. Everyone is accepted and welcome. We put our differences aside and are no longer threatened by them. I'm reminded of the movie Home Alone when Kevin is terrified of old man Marley who lives next door, and then later realizes - when he sees him in church on Christmas Eve - that the old man is just grieving a lost relationship with his son, and they become friends.

Christmas is the day to remember ALL are accepted, ALL are welcome. Christ rejected no one. There is no judgement, differences are celebrated, and we find room in our heart for love. Ravi teaches, the message of Christ isn't to make us Christians, it is to make us more Christ-like. There is no better time to see this than during Christmas.

Non-dual teacher Rupert Spira reminds us of our shared oneness when he says, "Love is the collapse of the distinction between self and other but can be expressed within all relationships."

Gifts of the Heart Can Never Be Owned

It's my feeling that Christmas is not something that can be owned, like property. No religion, nor giant retailer, nor any of us should claim to own Christmas. But like yoga, anyone can access and share Christmas. The Light is available to everyone, and the Light is the same within us all. No matter your faith or spiritual leanings, everyone recognizes the Light when they see it. Show me a person who has devoted their life to a yogic lifestyle - a life of unity and love - and I bet you will see the Light of Christmas in their eyes all year round.
About the Author

Angel Brownlee

Angel Brownlee is the co-founder of Temple Road Journey, a ministry of breath, movement, and meditation dedicated to helping people see themselves through the eyes of the heart, using the teachings of Christ and Yoga. As a certified yoga therapist and Reiki master, she is passionate about working with care partners, those in neurological rehabilitation and hospice. Angel believes the practice of yoga graciously meets us right where we are at every stage in life.


Comments

2 people like this.
Love the analogy of yoga and Christmas.  Thank you for pointing out the light we carry is multidimensional and is revealed in many ways.  Beautiful article.
2 people like this.
This reminds me of The Prayer of St Francis- "Lord make me an instrument of your peace". Thought provoking, spiritual and  a reminder that we're all the same.
BEAUTIFUL!

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