Happy 23rd! Christmas, like any tradition, is entirely tangled up with ideas of what it ‘should’ be: there is such pressure, for example, for it to be a perfect family time, to give the right gifts, to cook spectacular food. But in most cases there will be some immovable thing which is at odds with these ‘shoulds’, like tension or loss within the family or a tight budget. In any situation, it’s the distance between what ‘is’ and what ‘should be’ that causes distress and suffering. The way to escape this discomfort is to gently accept things as they are and to seek a way to dance with that as beautifully as you can. Slip free from the tyrrany of ‘should’ and ‘ought’, and weave yourself a celebration around your own unique situation. Shedding a few of your ‘shoulds’ around your yoga practice today is a great way to begin!

Do each pose for five to eight breaths (or five to eight breaths on each side, if it’s asymmetrical). Do five to eight rounds of abs.

Never stretch into pain. Take care of your body. If you’re pregnant then skip the abs exercise and don’t do anything that doesn’t feel right.

  1. Take three deep breaths, focussing on the sensation of breathing.

  2. Gentle stretch: Shrugs

  3. Abs exercise: Elbow to Knee

  4. Something zingy: Turbo Dog

  5. Final relaxation: Lie on your back in a warm place for at least a minute and let tension drain from your body.