The holidays can be joyful and filled with delicious encounters and, well meals. But as Christmas and New Year’s Eve approaches, and your evenings and weekends start to fill up with chores, Christma’s dinners and shopping, baking and organizing you easily start to feel introvert- fatigued, pre-party anxiety and low in energy.
Most of us yogis tend to run for help in dynamic power yoga in between the holiday activities and meals to aid and activate our physical digestion, sweat out the toxins and try to re-establish the balance in our bodies and minds.
What we often forget though is that our digestion is closely linked to the activation of our parasympathetic nervous system. When the sympathetic nervous system (our “ fight or flight” response) is active the blood flow and support to our gastrointestinal system is weakened and lowered. When we on the other hand activate the parasympathetic nervous system (“rest and digest” response), we bring more blood flow to our digestive organs and stimulate not only our digestion but also the body’s capacity to take up and assimilate the nutrients from the food we eat.
Moving around by taking a walk or getting a nice Vinyasa flow practice in between the holiday stress is great, but we should not forget that deep breathing, relaxation and a few restorative poses that allows you to rest and reboot can do wonders to stay in that Christmas elf kind of mood instead of becoming the Christmas Grinch.
Below you can find a few Restorative poses to practice at least a few hours after eating or the day after.
Lying on the left side of the body after meals is a great “go to” pose that can help to ease heartburn, acid reflux, and other discomforts related to the production of esophageal acid.
So keep breathing, don’t forget to create some space for stillness and silence every now and then and enjoy this happy season.
Love Tess & The Yoga Roots team
- Modified Child’s pose (Balasana)
This gentle forward bend with compression in the belly helps stimulate digestive fire and releases abdominal constriction. Come to hands and knees. Begin to press back into Balasana, pausing partway to place fists against your belly. Then fold over your thighs. Relax your belly, and fill your body with 10–20 breaths, and enjoy the soft massage your fists create against the belly through your breath.
- Rolling Bow (variation of Dhanurasana)
Come into Bow’s pose to begin with and then turn your bow into a rolling bow by rolling back and forth and side to side, creating gentle compression in different areas of the belly, which helps to “massage” the colon, break up stagnation, and express gas.
- Variation of reclined hero (Supta Virasana)
Place a folded blanket at the top of a bolster. Sit between your heels with the bolster behind your tailbone. Lie back on the bolster, resting your head on the blanket. Hold for 1–3 minutes, doing a gentle 3-part breath to promote circulation: Inhale into the lower lungs, then rib cage, then upper chest. This pose is famous for its digestion supporting powers.
- Revolved abdomen pose (Jathara Parivartanasana)
Jathara refers to the stomach, and this pose is all about stoking digestion and wringing out waste. Draw your knees into your chest. Extend arms to a T position. Lower legs down to the left. Gaze at the ceiling. Take 10–20 breaths, pausing at the end of each exhalation. Bring knees to center. Repeat pose on the other side.