The holiday season can be a joyful time to spend with family and friends, however it's easy to get caught up with hectic schedules, social obligations and commercial pressures. The work functions, family get-togethers, and wading through hordes of Christmas shoppers in search of Chrissy presents can be exhausting and energy draining . It's enough to send your nervous system into a spin, and a peace-loving yogi racing to her yoga mat for a little respite!
However the festive season is a great time to practice yoga off the mat too, and apply the skills you learn in yoga classes to keep you calm and centred throughout the busiest time of year.
At a time of year when our normal healthy schedules often break down, the key is to keep our prana, or energy levels, high through making conscious yet simple lifestyle choices.
Take your self-care up a notch by creatively applying yoga in your life this holiday season:
Be ok with letting go of your regular routine
You may find yourself practicing less and eating and drinking more than you normally would. While you don't want to fall off the proverbial wagon completely, enjoy celebrating with your loved ones and cherish their company. Worrying about the fact that you missed your yoga class or ate too much Christmas pudding will increase your stress and deplete your energy. Know that you can go back to your normal routine when the holiday is over.
Take on a short pre-party season clean eating program
A pre-Christmas cleanse will clear your body of toxins and help create a healthy balance. Plenty of fresh filtered water, freshly pressed juices, green smoothies and raw or lightly steamed veggies will keep you feeling satisfied without making you feel restricted. With a cleaner diet, your body will be in a better position to cope with a few extra indulgences, and by creating greater balance, you're more likely to make healthier food choices when at the Christmas lunch table.
Meditate daily for greater peace of mind
If you've never meditated before, now is a great time to start. You don't need much space to sit, and even 10 minutes is a good start to creating some stillness during this hectic time. Meditation has wonderful benefits for our mood, energy levels, stress levels, concentration and decision-making ability. Why wait for a New Year's resolution when you can start now?
Santosha, one of the niyamas of Patanjali's Yoga Sutras, is interpreted as gratitude or appreciation for what you have, and leads to true happiness. Gratitude arises when you break out of the small, self-centred point of view and acknowledge your heightened connectedness to everything around you. When gratitude is cultivated consciously, it can result in feelings of spontaneous joy and appreciation. During this time of year, spend time cultivating a deep appreciation for all of the blessings in your life, and notice the transformative power of this practice!
Written by Nicole Walsh