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Natalia Esperon

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A Festivus for the rest of us!

'Secret Snowman,'? 'Season's Greetings,'? 'The Holidays.'? People go to great lengths today to ensure they are referring to anything related to this most wonderful time of the year in a politically correct way. There is now almost a sense of censorship and uneasiness associated with speaking about the holidays. I personally find myself very aware when mentioning anything holiday related. I sometimes find myself even thinking back to past holiday conversations, hoping to not have offended anyone. The thing is, as careful as I try to be, I usually slip up anyhow, accidentally referring to the Christmas party that I need to make Santa shaped cookies for. Usually, it seems the one who is mortified is me, rather than anyone around me. This got me thinking, is this anguish self-imposed? Marketers, the media and retailers in particular are extremely careful when crafting their holiday messaging. Wanting to be all-inclusive and not offend a particular demographic, you will rarely see a Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa specific ad or promotion. During a talk show I was recently watching, a production member commented about a Christmas tree that had been put up in the studio. The host was very quick to clarify that a Hanukkah Menorah had also been displayed, directly next to the tree in fact. Are we as marketers just augmenting the situation?  Or simply playing by the rules? The call is yours'?¦

Troga, Anyone?

Like most people in today's world, I find it difficult to shut down and disconnect. Moving from meeting to call to email,  I am always on and always accessible (via phone, text, email, bbm, Facebook, you name it). Exercise has always been my form of release, a way to shut down momentarily. A few months ago, I began feeling somewhat bored with my usual cardio/weight training routine, and was finding it increasingly difficult to turn everything off like I was once able. Then I remembered - several years ago, a doctor recommended I try yoga to kick a nail-biting habit. I, of course, dismissed her advice because yoga was 'weird.'? Now, trying to switch things up a bit, I decided to take her advice and jump on the bandwagon. Though Yoga has been around for centuries, it has just recently boomed into the bustling billion dollar industry that it now is. There is a yoga for everyone- partner yoga, power Yoga, laughter yoga, even naked yoga. Sitcoms today such as Modern Family poke fun at the success and proliferation of the practice, coining the term 'Troga,'? or treadmill Yoga. So I took the plunge, and fell in love instantly. Before my first class, the instructor told us to forget about what had happened that day, that week, that hour, and just focus on being present. And it worked. Everything seemed to quiet down and shut off for a bit while in Warrior I. After my first few classes, I of course 'needed' to buy the latest and greatest in Yoga paraphernalia ' a new mat, a super-absorbent and custom Yoga towel, and a packages of trial sessions from a few local studios. Given my newfound love-affair with Yoga, I began to take notice of the many journals, sites, blogs, communities, deals and steals out there in the Yoga world. I am now subscribed to receive email blasts, news and promotions from almost every studio or shop within a 5 mile radius of my apartment. Yoga, an ancient practice rooted in transcendence of the mind and spiritual enlightenment, and my new form of freedom and solace, now buzzes me at least once a day, letting me know that the ___ Yoga studio is having a $5 community Vinyasa class on Sunday. Ironic, right? Will I unsubscribe? Probably not. Even Yoga has had to adapt to fit the times and I can't blame it. And, though I might not be connected in the now traditional sense during class, the goal of practicing yoga is still to try to connect (to yourself, your inner energy, or something greater perhaps). Maybe these ancient yogis were onto something back then'?¦And hey, who doesn't love a discount?

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