During the holidays it is easy to over-eat, over-drink and over-indulge generally.
There is nothing wrong with relaxing and having fun. However, pretty soon you start feeling sluggish and less-than-your best. To stay in form so you can enjoy the holidays, try these three holiday yoga sessions for digestion, immunity and energy.
Wind-removing pose: Do this any time to gently stimulate your digestion and encourage elimination. If you’re doing it at home, hold it for longer than you would in class, breathing mindfully and deeply to get the best massage for your colon.
Hands to feet pulling pose: This is another wonderful massage for your internal organs. Pulling your body tight against your thighs means no room for light or air anywhere on the outside, and no room for excess on the inside either! Bend your knees as much as you need to to keep a good compression between your abdomen and thighs.
Cobra pose: Lying on your belly puts gentle pressure on your stomach and digestive system, encouraging the movement of any trapped wind. As you rise, really contract your back and leg muscles to strengthen this massage.
Savasana: Embrace the benefits of stillness. Whether you’ve over-eaten, drunk too much, or simply gotten stressed out by everything, taking a few minutes to relax in corpse pose, breathing evenly in and out through your nose, is a great way to calm the body and bring it back into balance.
Pranayama: Our lungs are an important defence system so give them extra attention. In addition to breathing exercises in class take a short break two or three times a day and do some extra breathing. Pranayama is perfect for expelling stale air, while Kapalabhati detoxes and heats the body internally.
Focus on the core: The digestive system is crucial to immunity so take care to do plenty of asanas to strengthen and stimulate it. Try to do postures like Pavanamuktasana (wind-removing pose) and Adho Mukha Svanasa (downward-facing dog) for a few minutes each day.
Inversions: Inversions promote the circulation of lymph fluid. This lymphatic system transports immune cells through the body and works to detox the blood, so it is crucial for staying healthy. You can do shoulder-stands, headstands, or handstands. Or lie on your back with your bum next to the wall and your legs up for a gentle but effective inversion.
This is a fantastic energising pose that activates the major muscle groups of your core and lower body, opens your heart, and gets the energy flowing along your spine.
Wheel pose is a challenging, invigorating posture that creates great space in the body. The amazing front body stretch and compression of the spine reverse our normal posture, rebalancing our energy and opening our hearts.
Downward-facing dog is a great posture for immediately activating and engaging the whole body, at the beginning of your practice, or as a reset from the stress of the day. It engages the major muscle groups, stimulates the digestion and elongates the spine.
With a little help from yoga the holiday season can be happier, healthier and more fun!