Spending mere minutes at an airport over the holidays is enough to squelch my good will toward man. And I'll be honest -- I was probably already in a mood upon arrival. From shopping. And packing. Shopping online while packing. And the self-loathing that follows eating too many Christmas cookies -- completely my fault, I know. (See? The self-loathing continues.)

But there is one thing I've come to count on as an instant cure for yuletide blech.

No, not whiskey. Yoga.

No judgement if you prefer whiskey over triangle pose.

Every year, I dread the crowds at the airport, pity myself when a stranger sneezes on me while the plane is being de-iced, but I know that when I get to my destination, yoga awaits.

A few years back, upon learning that my uncle had become a yoga teacher, I sought out his class while I was in town for the holidays. The first time, I didn't have many expectations, but as he guided us into a centered (and sweaty!) place amid the holiday chaos, I was hooked and delighted -- out of the blue, I had a talented yoga teacher in my family. Fantastic!

Going to my uncle's yoga class became a tradition, and a time when I could feel good instead of fussy. My mom was just getting into yoga, too, so she joined me. Now, my mom is a yoga teacher, too. I think this means the tradition must grow, that I get to double my dose of yoga over the holidays.


As always, it's hard to squeeze one more thing in when I'm visiting for Christmas. But it's now just as traditional as woofing down those cookies. And it's worth it: A couple of years ago, during a particularly gray spell in the Midwest, I forced myself out of bed early one Dec. 23 for my uncle's class. Driving there, I caught a glimpse of the sun rising, the only sun I'd seen since leaving Colorado. My standard stress over the holidays, sadness over seeing my grandfather's ailing health and my selfish angst over airport crowds faded for a moment. The sun faded behind the gray once again by the time I arrived, but my mood remained rosy. Inside, my uncle pointed me toward the toasty, welcoming studio, where I unrolled my mat and unpacked my cares for 60 minutes of pure holiday joy.

-- Jenn Fields