This post will dive into 5 benefits of keeping up with your yoga practice over the holidays.
Extended time with loved ones can be fun but also a challenge too. Do you ever find yourself nearly wanting to throttle someone because of something they do or say? It can also be a time when your exercise routine goes completely out the window, leaving you feeling stiff, tired and cranky.
This is where I find my yoga practice a real friend.
It can, however, be very hard to get the motivation to roll out your mat and carve out that little time for yourself. However, yoga doesn’t only happen on the mat. It is a practice which you do off the mat too.
I am hoping that by diving into these 5 benefits you will do just that – practice on and off the mat, even if it is just for 10 minutes. Carving out this time will help you not only ease out the stiffness and kinks in your body but soothe your mind and soul at the same time. 🤗🤗🤗
So, let’s get started.
Yoga Helps You Beat Anxiety
I admit I can find things overwhelming. All that stuff you have to do to get ready for a holiday can really get on top of you. Yes, it is exciting but at the same time, it can feel like a real mountain to climb.
What do I do, when things get a little too much? I practise some simple yoga breathing. Inhaling and making the exhale up to twice as long is a nice simple option and can be done anywhere.
Sometimes I take comfort from a mantra (simple positive word or statement linked with the breath) or I do a simple visualisation or full-body relaxation. Whatever you do, find somewhere quiet (even if it ends up being the bathroom) and take time out.
If I have a bit more time I will do some breath and movement (vinyasa). I might take a child pose (using the bath mat as a substitute for a yoga mat – if I am in the bathroom) followed by cat-cow or other simple poses which move with the breath.
Sometimes I just come into legs up the wall (or on the bath side pose)! Get creative; you won’t regret it and don’t count the minutes. This is time for you – enjoy
Practising Yoga Over the Holidays Will Keep Your Immunity Healthy
Let’s face it, this is the time of year when many of us succumb to a cold or infection.
Some simple yoga can toughen us up and boost our immunity.
Poses that open up the chest and revive our lymphatic system (and general circulation) help keep our immunity fighting fit.
Examples of poses include bridge, bow or restorative fish pose (see below).
Good old breathing practices are also amazing for keeping the immune system strong. Either spend a few minutes practising your favourite yoga breathing technique or if you fancy something a little more vigorous, a few rounds of sun salutations are great for boosting both your breathing and circulation.
Yoga will keep You Toned and Strong
Those that know me well, understand that I am a complete fitness junkie. I am obsessed with ageing well.
I want to keep strong, flexible and mobile so that I can enjoy doing all the things in life that make me happy.
Yoga is the only practise I have found which hits all the right spots for my body, mind and heart and it is the perfect way to beat stiffness and aches which can crop up over holiday periods. You also don’t need a gym which is pretty important too!
Want to work on upper body strength? Try wall handstand, dolphin or down dog.
Want to work on the lower body? Include long holds of the warrior poses or goddess. Balancing postures are also fab for this.
Want to work on your back and core strength? Try boat, locust, bridge pose, triangle and twisting poses like revolved triangle.
If you want to keep on top of some aches and pains (including back pain), don’t forget poses that work the spine in all 4 directions. Adding core work will also help here.
Stuck on ideas? Head over to my YouTube channel for some free practice videos which last anywhere between 15 and 60 minutes.
Yoga Over the Holidays Will Help Keep Your Weight Stable
Often people are gobsmacked when I say that yoga can help you lose weight.
A good yoga flow session is cardio. It raises your heart rate whilst helping you to build muscle balance, strength, mobility and flexibility.
Try a few rounds of sun salutations (at least 10 rounds) to see what I mean.
Another, more subtle way yoga can help with weight control is its ability to influence the way you treat yourself. You, therefore, might actually think twice before eating that 10th mince pie (especially if you are an emotional eater like me).
Food can be an emotional soother but so can yoga. I now, more often than not, turn to the mat rather than eating for some self-soothing me-time (and it works so much better).
Yoga will Help Keep You Sane (We Are All Human After All)
I love my crazy family, but believe me, there are times I want to throttle them.
Many of us may also have that family member (however well-meaning) who can hit the raw spot – make you say or do the wrong thing.
Your yoga practice off the mat will help you keep your cool, your sanity and emanate love and acceptance.
Instead of flying off the handle breathe, pause, exhale as long as you can. Internally speak a mantra which calms and recentres you. Smile, stay present – you have got this!
So those are my 5 benefits of practising yoga over the holidays? Do you agree with my 5 or can you think of others?
I hope you will take time out to practice some yoga on or off the mat over the holiday break.
If you fancy some directed me-time over the holidays why not join me for an afternoon of restorative yoga on Wednesday 29th December which will help you to recharge your batteries and take some well deserved time out. For more information click here (and scroll down to the bottom of the home page) or contact me directly.
Finally, just for you here is a short 20-minute gentle restorative class to get you started. Just roll out your mat and take some time to rejuvenate your body, mind and soul.