4 Things to Do with Your Extra Day

Leap Day may look and feel like any other day of the year, but why not treat it like a rare and special gift? Here are three things you might not make time for on a “regular” Saturday. Do one—or all—of them and make your extra day something special. (You can also come visit us with a Kripalu Day Pass!)

Make this recipe for Gluten-Free Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars from the Kripalu Kitchen cookbook.

It’s not tricky, but it’s not quick, either. Settle in, pick a podcast or a playlist, and surrender into the deep relaxation of simply doing one thing at a time. While you’re at it, try a little sense meditation: Take a few slow, conscious breaths as you savor the smell of melting chocolate, the texture of peanut butter on your tongue, and the slide of the spatula as you spread ganache over the filling.

“You really need only one of these, because the layers of crushed graham crackers, sweetened peanut butter, and dark chocolate ganache taste so intense together,” says Kripalu Executive Chef Jeremy Rock Smith.

Take a mindful walk.

As you step outside, allow your eyes to scan the landscape. Then close your eyes for a moment and notice the sensations—the breeze or sun on your skin, the temperature, any sounds that are present. As you begin to walk, keep tuning in to your sensations and returning to the body and the breath. Your experience may be of an oscillation between what’s happening in the body and senses, and what you’re observing around you.

You might want to try focusing on specific sensations: the balance of each foot as it touches the ground, the feel of the air on your skin. “Shutting off your mind is not the point—simply notice how much there is to be aware of, inside and out,” says Kripalu Lead Faculty and meditation teacher Steven Leonard.

Draw a mandala.

You don’t have to be artistic to create one; Kathryn Costa, author of The Mandala Guidebook, tells her students, “If you can print your name and the alphabet, you can draw a mandala.” It’s fun, relaxing, and creates a sense of clarity and connection.

“The circle offers a safe container to focus one’s thoughts, feelings, and ideas—whether the mandala is in the traditional style, with the shapes radiating from the center, or a contemporary design that’s more freeform and abstract,” Kathryn says. “As we draw a mandala and color it in, we see patterns emerge before us that may reflect the centeredness and connections found within ourselves, friends, family, colleagues, and communities.”

Focus on digital wellness.

When we put down our devices, we look up, engage, and come back to the world and to ourselves. “We all want to feel connected,” says Coby Kozlowski, Kripalu School of Yoga faculty and a certified life coach. “People rely on their devices to get plugged into life, but the truth is that it doesn’t fulfill us in the ways we long for. To me, it’s critical to unplug in order to actually plug in.”

Try these seven tips for unplugging.

Happy Leap Day!