1. Don’t skimp on self-care. Whatever routines you have in place for self-care – exercise, Yoga, taking walks, getting enough sleep – do everything possible to maintain these routines during the holidays. If anything, we need more time for integration and rest at this time. Tell relatives where you’re visiting that you need to plan time for Yoga and/or exercise; go on a walk with a friend; snuggle into bed early; or even schedule that extra massage! Your body and spirit will thank you for it.
2. Get support for maintaining healthy eating: Holiday parties or visits with friends and family can tempt us to abandon healthy eating. Healthy eating prevents ill-health due to poor digestion and promotes vitality and clarity. If you are allergic to certain foods, bring alternatives you will be happy eating to potlucks or family visits. Talk to a buddy in advance of any situations where you may be tempted to eat foods you will regret later.
3. Light a candle with awareness: There’s a reason so many of the rituals we celebrate at this time of year involve candles. As the days grow shorter and the sun travels lower in the sky, our bodies and minds need to adjust to the loss of light in the external environment. Lighting a candle in our homes reminds us that the light within is not going away; it is always available.
4. Bring more restful poses into your Yoga practice: The travel, extra activity, and excitement of the holiday season are all “vata imbalancing” according to Yoga and Ayurvedic medicine. Increasing cold weather at this time of year also adds to this effect. In order to bring balance, emphasize grounding, restful, and nourishing poses in your Yoga practice. If you have a vigorous practice in place, you don’t have to stop it; just back off a little, perhaps substituting one restorative pose for another requiring intense exertion. For standing poses, try triangle, tree balance, or balancing half moon. Overall, emphasize forward bends and twists, poses where the head is supported on a block or cushion, and restorative poses like legs up the wall.
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