You know it’s coming and you try to be prepared – plan ahead, save money, not stress. Yet, somehow the last six weeks of every year have us feeling too busy and bloated to enjoy all of the bliss. In the midst of gatherings, gift giving and gluttony, our bodies take on stressors we’re not used to and it makes us feel mentally and physically unhinged.
This doesn’t mean the holiday season is completely toxic or shouldn’t be celebrated. It’s just a matter of choosing to slow down and stay present. Even too much of a good thing can feel bad (after a while).
To offset the drain you might experience during the energetic exchanges with family and food, I’ve handpicked a few of my favorite detoxifying yoga poses that help me stay present and grateful. After all, that is truly what this time of year is about.
If you can, practice this short flow every day and you will feel the difference. Follow a slow and steady breath through at least three rounds of every pose. Sit with a grateful heart before you move your body. Reflect on all that you have in your life in this moment and find at least one thing that you are truly grateful for. Inhale and give thanks to what is bringing you joy. Exhale and push out the heavy thoughts that don’t serve you – now or ever.
Cat-Cow Pose. Whether the holidays feel stressful and exhausting or if you feel overwhelming excited, move through those emotions and breathe deeply to stay grounded and connected to your body. Focus your energy on sending love and peace to every being (Cat pose). Send love and peace to your Self (Cow pose).
Child’s Pose. Take at least three breaths in Child’s pose and settle into your grateful heart and let go of any stress by imagining it dripping off you and on to the earth. Your imagination and visualization skills will be a powerful tool to find peace through the holidays. Downdog will invigorate the body by creating strength, and core movements like bringing your knee to nose will wake up the digestion.
Low Lunge into Revolved Side Angle. These poses provide an expansion and deep twist to improve digestion and stamina.
Warrior II, Triangle, Reverse Triangle. These poses fire up the legs and side body while also stretching your chest, lungs and shoulders for tension release. Acknowledge the balance of power and grace of the movements.
Chair Pose. Love it or hate it, you need this pose right now. It stimulates your heart and fires up your organs. And more than anything, this pose makes you feel alive as your calves, quads and spine activate. Hold this pose for 5 rounds of breath. Forward fold to release and be thankful for your body.
Seated Twist. This is a gentle yet effective detoxifying pose that stimulates the digestion and the liver and kidneys.
Bridge Pose. Kick back in bridge pose to open your heart and take big belly breaths expanding your ability to assimilate your food and to open your heart! This pose has a plethora of benefits including: reducing anxiety, calming the brain, improving digestion, and stretching the check and neck.
Savasana/Corpse Pose. This is the added bonus to remind yourself that this life is the gift. As you melt your body to the floor, feel the positive energy flow over and through you. Stay here and enjoy the bliss of yoga. When you are ready to come off your mat, bring this bliss with you. It is a gift you can give yourself and everyone around you. Happy Gratitude Month!