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Sharing Abundance this Holiday Season
On December 14, 2012 in
All this inspired me to expand my giving this year beyond family and friends to include those I don’t even know who are truly in need. So instead of making my shopping list, I instead made this list of organizations that we can donate to. With not much money at all, and the click of a few buttons, we can share the magic of the holidays and help those who need it most.
Toys for Tots
- This U.S Marine Corp foundation provides toys to less fortunate kids that would not otherwise receive a toy for the holidays. You can donate toys at Toys for Tots drives, or give money by clicking here. Another route would be to host a toy drive at your holiday or work party.
- This is an amazing organization founded by a friend of mine, Lauren Pech, who lives in South Africa. LionHearted Kids is dedicated to supporting the emotional and pshychological healing of children and families in underserved communities in South Africa. You can donate to this non-profit, host a fundraiser, or volunteer.
Make a Wish Foundation
- Make a Wish Foundation is dedicated to enriching the lives of children with life-threatening medical conditions by granting each child his or her greatest families and communities. Please take a moment to watch a few
of these courageous children receiving their wishes.
wish. This program has brightened the lives of 250,000 children, as well as inspired the lives of affected
- Kiva is a unique kind of charity, as your $25 donation acts as a loan to provide opportunity for those in need to earn a sustainable and lasting income. Eventually you get your money back to either keep or re-lend. You simply donate, and Kiva takes care of the logistics through their field partners and micro-finance organizations.
- Serving over 100 countries, World Vision is dedicated to providing long-term assistance to those affected by poverty, disaster, and injustice. You can sponsor a child, or donate money for supplies, food, clothing, and clean water.
- You can donate canned and boxed food to a local food bank, host a food drive at your holiday party, or volunteer at a local soup kitchen. If you are a U.S resident,
to locate a food bank or soup kitchen near you. If you live outside the U.S, you can locate your nearest food bank by visiting
There is more than enough abundance to go around. Join me in practicing the yoga of giving this year!
By Jackie Casal Mahrou
Jackie Casal Mahrou is a yoga instructor on yogadownload.com, and teaches Hatha, Vinyasa, and Restorative Yoga. Through her teaching and writing, she hopes to inspire as many as she can to live with grace, joy and gratitude. Read more about Jackie at
Start practicing with Jackie's YogaDownload Classes today:
Gentle Hatha #4
15 Ways to Relax During the Holidays
It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and for some, that also means the most stressful. You know that feeling when you have holiday parties to plan for, gifts to purchase, dinner to host and it feels like you’re never ever going to stop? During the holiday season, it’s so important to find a way to relax and recharge. So here are a few quick ways to do just that, just in time for the holidays! Don’t strive for perfection Sometimes ‘good enough’, is just that! Don’t always strive to be best, or perfect, especially when you’re juggling a lot of tasks. When planning your holiday season, give yourself a break and let ‘good enough’ be good enough for you. After all, is anyone really going to notice the ‘perfect’ Christmas tree, when you’re having fun with your loved ones?
Celebrate: Why Yoga can Help you Enjoy the Holiday Season more
Around the world, people are celebrating various traditions. Whether you are commemorating the Solstice or observing faith based holidays, December represents a time to connect with family and friends. It’s a great time to focus on joy, peace, and establishing rituals. Whether you’re one of the lucky ones who get to spend more time with loved ones, take a trip back home, or go on a vacation somewhere far away or you find this time of year challenging, your yoga practice is always a safe haven. This time of year is a great reminder to focus on what is most important in life: love and connection. We’re here to remind you that taking the time to connect with your own heart will help you navigate this time of year. The heart chakra is considered the seat of compassion and selfless love. According to the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali in Sutra 1.33, the mind becomes peaceful and free when the qualities of the heart are cultivated. Patanjali suggests:
Fall Equinox Seasonal Check In
Roughly every three months, the season changes. In some places in the world seasonal changes are quite evident. It others, it feels the same for most of the year. I’ve always been a fan of seasons because I like variety. With each new season brings a change in perspective, whether we consciously think about it or not. New fresh fruits and vegetables, new available activities, new temperatures, new clothing to meet those temperatures and associated forms of precipitation, new colors.
Holiday Season Recharge
How are you feeling today? We’re still in the midst of the holiday season and if you’re like many of us, your typical routines have receded in the rearview. Don’t feel guilty if you’ve abandoned your usual healthy workout routine or eaten a few dozen frosted sugar cookies washed down with crisp champagne. Life is meant to be savored, enjoyed, and lived in the present moment. Sometimes this might be the only chance you’ve got to spend time with family, see old friends, or simply hibernate. But if you’ve abandoned your usual exercise, yoga, and diet, you may be feeling lethargic and heavier than usual. When your body feels bloated, your mind and emotions can also feel slower and foggier. To counteract these weighty tamasic sensations, see if you can carve out some time to recharge your body’s natural cleansing powers. What do you need in this moment to feel more like yourself until you return to your habitual routine?
The Most Important Holiday Gift of All
Throughout my 9 years as a Counselor, I have realized that the holidays are truly a very dark time for many, and it’s not just for the 15% of us in the population who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder. For us, the literal dark and cold of the season itself is a big piece of the puzzle, and all of the stress of the holidays piles on top of an already depressing time. Stress and expectations run high, to-do lists become far too long, and the pressure slowly builds. Not gonna lie, it’s a big part of the reason I enjoy a warm life in Bali now! As the holidays draw closer, it seems like everyone is on the brink of explosion. Many feel the pressure of responsibility to hold family traditions together. Consumerist-driven comparison has us all in a tailspin. What is supposed to be the jolliest holiday turns into a disaster as we simply and impossibly try to keep everyone else happy. Somewhere along the way, we let ourselves slip through the cracks. What about YOUR needs? Where is the time to take care of the most important person of all? Your very own self. It’s an easy time to crack; to break; to give into the darkness. I get it. I see you. I’m here for you.
The Best Vegan Eggnog
Today we want to share a healthy holiday recipe that you can whip up for a holiday party or just sip on in front of a warm crackling fire – eggnog! Our version is a vegan eggnog, free of eggs and dairy, but before you freak out, don’t worry – we’ve made sure this recipe just as creamy and delicious as the holiday original. Not only is this recipe tasty, but it’s also chock full of healthy ingredients that will help you keep your glow this holiday season in the face of too much sugar, stress and spirits. Maca reduces symptoms associated with adrenal fatigue, and can also help to alleviate stress, anxiety and depression. Cinnamon stabilizes blood sugar and reduces LDL cholesterol, while nutmeg calms nerves and helps with sleep. Cashews are a good source of bioavailable iron and tryptophan, which can help boost natural serotonin levels. We hope you enjoy this healthy holiday drink! If you want to turn this recipe into a Conscious Cocktail, add 1-2 oz. of brandy, bourbon, or dark rum to each glass, depending on how strong you like it. This time of year, it can be easy to overdo all the sweet treats, drinks, and rich food, so bear in mind one of the central questions of the Conscious Cleanse before indulging in each and every holiday treat and ask yourself, “how will this food make me feel?”
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