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Today is Black Friday, the big sales and discounts shopping day which, confusingly, we borrowed from the US. Black Friday is an American invention — the day after Thanksgiving and the “official” start of the Christmas buying season. Britain doesn’t celebrate Thanksgiving so it seems silly to adopt Black Friday. It’s not like we are short on our own mince-pie-and-mulled-wine Christmas rituals.

Since there is no avoiding the hype let’s use it to our advantage. Yoga teaches us to be open and mindful. The pressure to buy-buy-buy is an opportunity for us to think about what we really want, what we need, and the gifts we already have.

Before you make a Christmas shopping list, or a wish list, take some time to meditate.

  • Think about the things you are freely given: Health, breath, love, understanding, time, freedom.
  • Think about the material blessings you have: Your home, car, clothes, iPhone….
  • Think about the gifts of attention, energy, and affection that flow between you and your friends and loved ones.
  • Think about what would enhance your life in the coming year. Is it a goal? A new possession? A relationship?

By the time you’ve meditated on these things you might discover you’ve lost the urge to elbow through a crowd in order to buy a new espresso machine, or party outfit.

There is nothing wrong with material goods. Giving and receiving gifts can be a pleasure. But that’s what it should be: A pleasure. Not something you feel compelled to do because there are only 31 shopping days till Christmas.

What is on your list? Share in the comments.