Post-Thanksgiving Yoga

Maybe you ate too much, gossiped about family members, complained about how you looked in photos, or woke up really early on Black Friday to shop for suspiciously cheap items made  in China. We all commit these transgressions; against the yamas and niyamas of yoga (“restraints” if you will, like non-harming ahimsa). The best thing you can do is acknowledge your faults and commit to changing how you act in the future! Check out these steps to recovering from The Holidays: Part One.

My seating for Thanksgiving!
My seating for Thanksgiving!

1.  Eat a salad. Preferably not one of those that comes on a bed of french fries, but baby steps are better than nothing.

2.  Go for a walk outside. Get some fresh air, and repeat this to yourself – “I cannot change my family/friends, and there’s no need to.” Reflect on the good parts of the holiday! Plus, anger = indigestion, right? Let it gooooooooo. Take a look at old photographs – did everything on that day in the picture go exactly according to plan? Probably not. But I’m sure you look back at the pictures with happy memories. Let the present be just as happy!

3.  Put on those stretchy pants (like you don’t already have them on) and test out this mini yoga sequence! If a pose isn’t working for you, just don’t do it. Keep it simple with these basic poses:

  • Child’s pose — knees wide, toes together, breathe into your full full stomach!
  • Cat/cow poses — take a bunch of these, alternating with your breaths. Inhale to drop your belly and look up, exhale to round your spine and pull your chin in. Really stretccchhhhhh out your back in these!
  • Downward facing dog — lifting one leg and then the other behind you, stretching out. Then walk your feet to meet your hands for…
  • Forward fold — bringing your feet hips width (two fists between your feet, to measure) and just let your arms hang. The key here is to keep a flat back when you bend down; you don’t want to bend/curve from your stomach, because that will make you feel awful.
  • Mountain pose — inhale your arms all the way up to the ceiling! Stretch wayyy up, and lift out of your lower back. We sit all day and leave a lot of pressure there! Once you’re stretched as tall as you can get, bend over to one side, being careful not to let your hips swing out to the opposite side. Repeat in the other direction!
  • Exhale to forward fold, inhale up to stand, sweeping your arms above your head. Exhale forward fold, inhale up to stand. Repeat as many times as you need to really find that space where you can fill up your lungs!
  • Vinyasa! Step back to high push-up, low push-up, upward facing dog, downward facing dog.
  • Come down to your knees and onto your back. Stretch your arms up above your head, and wiggle out your toes! They had to be cooped up in heels or boots all day and need a break!
  • Supine twists — bend your knees and plant your feet “mat’s width” apart (so a little wider than your hips). Let your knees fall over to the right, bringing your right foot on top of your left knee to help pull it over. Extend your left arm and look over to the left. Let your spine rinse out! The aim is to get both shoulders on the mat and perhaps even your right knee. Switch! Let your knees fall to the left, bringing your left foot on top of your right knee. Extend your right arm and direct your head in the same direction. Breatheeeeeeeee.
  • Repeat the entire sequence here, start to practice on your own, or treat yourself to Savasana! Make yourself comfortable and focus on your breath – slow it down. See if you can feel your heart beating, maybe without bringing your hand to your chest, but by bringing awareness to your body. Focus your attention internally and let yourself recharge.

Remember, yoga is so much more than just poses (asana). Still, don’t be afraid to bring some down-dog to the next holiday party! It not only re-energizes you after practicing, but can provide you with the strength and composure to handle experiences if you try it out beforehand. Perspective can change holiday horrors into picture-worthy memories.

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