Yoga for the holidays

THERE IS A WAY Do not be worried about gaining that holiday weight with all the celebrations round the corner. Pragya Bhatt comes to your rescue, enum

Yoga for the holidays

The holiday season has officially begun. And with Christmas and New Year just around the corner, the foremost thing on everyone’s mind is cleaning homes, decorating, buying gifts for near and dear ones and last-minute invites for the great New Year bash. The last thing on everyone’s mind is holiday fitness.

Usually, fitness is relegated to post-
holidays, when the last of the guests leave and the kids start school again. But, before you know it, there is another office party or religious festival right behind. Which means, from now on, until the end of next year, there are plenty of excuses to down that extra bit of chocolate, barfi and cake. Sticking to a fitness routine is difficult even for the most ardent health freaks.

The best approach to fitness during the holiday season is to workout whenever possible, even if it’s only a 10-minute brisk walk to the neighbour’s party. There are ways you can stay in touch with yoga, even if you’re unable to attend your class during the busy season. Here’s how:

Do a few rounds of surya namaskar first thing in the morning. This means no procrastinating. Wake up, answer nature’s call and get to your mat. Preferably, get your mat ready on the floor the night before, so that it’s the first thing that beckons you. Yes, even before that coffee pot.

After your surya namaskars, sit on your mat and take 10 long deep breaths. You can choose to chant a mantra or an affirmation to yourself with each breath. This will ensure that you’re calm and focused for the rest of the day. 

Do a few rounds of any calming pranayama before you sleep. The best option  is anulom-vilom (alternate nostril breathing) since it’s simple and easy. In addition to this, it helps in balancing the right and left sides of your personality so that you keep your wits about you during the stressful festive season.

 Find a short 10-15 minute yoga routine online and download it on your computer. Or access one on YouTube and just follow along. Small time slots like 10-15 minutes is easier to commit to than an hour every day. Even 15 minutes is enough to keep your body limber and healthy during the season.

 Use the holidays to explore a new fitness activity with a group of friends or family. Speak to your yoga instructor and see if he/she would be willing to take a personalised yoga class for your group. Schedule this activity before a big brunch with the family. Take lots of photos and make it a memorable time with your loved ones. Who knows, you may even broaden someone’s horizons.

When you go shopping, make sure to browse through or at least look at the window displays of fitness apparel stores. Stay inspired to stay on track by looking at beautiful workout clothes, which you can flaunt on your fit body.

 Practise mindfulness. This is especially important when it comes to consuming goodies. Most Christmas cookies are laden with calories, but are deceptively tiny. It’s easy to reach for piece after piece of gourmet chocolate nuggets. Make this season about savouring things. From the delectable plum cake to the rest of the little things that make your life so special. The more you take time out to appreciate the little things, the more your satisfaction quotient will increase and the less likely you will be to stuff your face mindlessly.

Drink plenty of water. This is one thing that is easily forgotten during the holiday rush. Be more careful about your daily hydration needs. Drink plenty of water in the mornings when you’re in the house (and when your own washroom is close at hand). Be serious about carrying your own water, even if you have to use those small bottles. Also, when at a party, drink at least three glasses of water for every one glass of your preferred poison.

Going to a big, crowded, lively and loud party? Good, make it work for you. Dance the calories away!

You can’t really do much about the sweets that your friends and well-wishers will give you. But you can avoid buying and serving sweets in your house. Make a statement this season by gifting dry fruits instead of the ubiquitous chocolates and cakes and set an example for your friends.

Perhaps, the most important thing that you can do for yourself is to remember that as the year comes to an end, it is imperative to focus on mental and emotional wellbeing and peace. A few extra calories can be burned off, but feelings of instability, insecurity, guilt, imbalance and anger can leave lasting impressions on your psyche. So don’t berate yourself for a little bit of indulgence. Remember, the holidays, after all, are meant to be enjoyed!

(The author is a yoga instructorbased in Bengaluru)

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