As the festive season arrives, life gets busier and often the reasons to do yoga during the Holidays fall off the list of priorities. After all, time is limited and there are lots of meetings to cram in and projects to finish before the New Year. However, it’s the season of colder temperatures, less sunlight and emotional ups and downs. Our immunity and nervous systems are fragile and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.
Five reasons to do maintain your yoga during the Holidays:
1. SLOW DOWN
Whether you actively participate or not, the whole city is caught up in hustle and bustle mode. Yoga offers you the chance to pause, gain perspective and return to the present moment. It also activates your parasympathetic nervous system responsible for calming the mind and relieving stress symptoms like insomnia, indigestion and aches and pains. Meditation, slow flows and restorative yoga is ideal.
2. BOOST HAPPY HORMONES
Yoga and exercise stimulate the release of serotonin, the hormone responsible for feelings of happiness. Continuing yoga during the Holidays helps offset ‘seasonal depression.’ (UV light promotes serotonin activity, so when there is less sunlight, there is less serotonin naturally available.) Vinyasa or ashtanga practices at a moderate pace are recommended.
3. FIND STABILITY
The longer your ‘To Do’ list, the more agitated our nervous system. This is especially true when we multi-task to maximize time. This keeps us on perpetual ‘go go go’ mode. As result, cortisol (stress hormone) levels are high and most of our energy is in our head. Yoga provides the opportunity to connect, stabilize and ground ourselves. Standing poses are great for this.
4. INCREASE IMMUNE FUNCTION
Due to the cold weather, the body’s inner fire or agni is often less efficient. Thus, our natural virus and bacteria fighting power has cooled down. Yoga, especially back bending postures that open up the front of the body and most pranayama breathing exercises, like ujjayi or kapalabhati breathing, create heat in the body and support your immunity.
Understandably, its harder to avoid the merry-making abundance of sugary treats, alcohol and heavy, unctuous food at this time of year. These indulgences slow down your digestive system and metabolism, making you feel heavy and tired. Vinyasa and ashtanga practices stimulate circulation and twisting poses release stagnation in the organs leaving you feeling alert and energized.
How to squeeze in more yoga during the Holidays?
Make it simple. Mornings are a good time for sun salutations. Even eight to ten sun salutations a day are helpful. You may want to follow a guided practice (see my practices on Youtube and/or my yoga videos for sale) or even join a class live (online or in person). Late afternoons are nice for restorative practices and long hold practices – practices where you hold the poses for 10 breaths or more.
Still, if you have little kids at home, finding time for yoga during the holidays can be extra challenging. In this case, I recommend some family yoga time. It can be fun teaching your kids different animal poses and taking deep breaths together. You can do this in the context of a “Yogi says” game which is similar to Simon Says, only with yoga poses — “Yogi says do a downward dog for five breaths.” I also have a 30 minute Family Yoga video on YouTube you may enjoy – click here to access it.
Lastly, to further support you with your overall wellbeing as well as with your yoga during the Holidays, consider joining one of my 30 Day Healthy Living Programs.
- Shop Yasmin Yoga videos for home yoga practice
- Yasmin Yoga on YouTube
- 10 ways to Improve your Digestion
- Natural Remedies for Stomach Flu
- Nourish yourself: Easy Vegetarian Recipes
- Cozy winter beverages: Chai Recipes for Vata, Pitta & Kapha
(This post has been updated since it’s original publication in Dec. 2019)