Thanksgiving is a unique word. I don’t think it parallels any other word. It’s such a fabulous word placing “thanks” and “giving” together. I had a chance to talk with many of you about your holiday and smiled listening to your stories. As one member told me, “we had 25 people over at my house and cooked two turkeys.” Wow!  That’s giving!

I zipped in and out to Chicago to get my dose of turkey, cold weather and – best of all – family, to jumpstart my holiday spirit. Hanging out with family made me give thanks, and, in those few days, thanks snowballed into joy. Once you feel joy, you don’t want it to stop. The key in keeping joy alive is to give. If we stay awake to what’s really going on, we begin to understand that giving is our true nature. “It is in giving that we receive,” as we’ve all heard. Â I couldn’t give enough to get enough. Drop the hype about Thanksgiving for a moment, and notice the power of that day. It is a warm-up for the season ahead. We are amped up and ready to show off our giving skills.

Members, this is a perfect time of year, to appreciate the influence your giving has made on yourself and your surroundings. Over the years, our studio has raised thousands of dollars for wonderful charities: Karma for Kids, (a camp for kids with terminal cancer); St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital; the American Red Cross Relief Fund; Memory Walk for the Alzheimer’s Association; and funding a wish for “Sarah” to swim with the dolphins from the Make-A-Wish Foundation. There is more as these are just some of the bigger causes you’ve impacted. Individually your generosity is admirable and as a yoga community, your giving is exemplary.

I’ve read Tuesdays with Morrie at least three times. One of my favorite pieces in the book is the story about the little wave. “This little wave is bobbling along the ocean having a grand time, enjoying the wind and the fresh air. Then, he notices the waves ahead of him crashing against the shore. “My God, this is terrible,” the wave says. “Look what’s going to happen to me!” Along comes another wave and asks “Why do you look so sad?’ The little wave says, “you don’t understand. We are all going to crash. All of us waves are going to be nothing. Isn’t that terrible?’ The other wave says, No, YOU don’t understand. You’re not just a wave, you’re part of the ocean.

I believe that, as we grow more confident, healthier and more comfortable in our own skins, we shed more of the ego, the separation between ourselves and others. We see past the nose on our faces and care more about the greater good.

Thank you members for taking advantage of the transformative power of the mind-body connection that comes through yoga. In The Way of the Wizard, Deepak Chopra writes, “you are the world. When you transform yourself, the world you live in will also be transformed.” Thank you for giving over and over again, helping to change the world.

BYSJ is privileged to be hosting this year’s Northern California Regional Yoga Championships. We’ve chosen to demonstrate the strength in the yoga, strength in our community by giving again; the event will raise funds to support autism education. Members, you are greatest ambassadors of yoga, true champions, as you symbolize life as it should be, gazing beyond the visible to the potential on the horizon – yes, you are part of the ocean!

Happy Holidays.