1. Stress Relief
It is a very busy time of year for most individuals. No matter what type of yoga you practice, stress relief will be a benefit. From Vinyasa Wave or Power Wave, which will get your heart pumping and endorphins rushing; to Healthletica Wave or Yin Wave, with quiet, inward focus on calming your mind and body. You can’t help leaving the studio more relaxed than when you started!
2. Brings You into the Present
Often during the holiday season, we can get dragged down by the weight of our past and our worries about the future – so much that we lose the present. During Savasana, I encourage students to close their eyes and listen to the breath moving inside their bodies. Turn your attention inwards. How often do you spend hours or days anticipating an event, only for it to fly by so fast that you barely remember anything? Learn to feel, appreciate and live in all of your moments. Whether or not you celebrate a religious holiday at this time of year, everyone gets caught up in the frenzy of the season. That doesn’t mean that you throw your yoga practice out the window until January! Make it a priority to plan a “yoga date” for yourself. You will feel better and healthier.
3. Digestion and Toxin Release
Along with parties, decorations and sweaters, the holiday season brings excessive eating and drinking. Both forward and backward bends and twists stimulate the circulatory system and digestive organs, especially when accompanied by deep breathing (pranayama). The twists first compress the organs, “wringing out” the blood filled with toxins. When the twist is released, freshly oxygenated blood flows through the organs. Add these poses to your practice for good detoxification.
4. Boosts Your Immune System
As the seasons change, the chances of falling sick rise sharply. Especially during the holidays! Although we cannot completely escape from coming into contact with those who are ill, we can certainly work our way to strengthen our defense mechanism. Yoga is one of the most effective natural immunity boosters that we can adopt for a healthier lifestyle. It is an ancient art that strengthens the body and also relaxes the mind. A few simple poses that can help you put up a strong resistance to illnesses this season include:
Child Pose: excellent pose to decongest the chest and build a better immunity defense system.
Bridge Pose: Opens the heart and improves blood circulation. It increases energy in the body to help put a better resistance against pathogens.
Cobra Pose: Chest opening pose which releases white blood cells to move through the body and fight invaders.
Bow Pose: Another pose that improves the flow of white cells by putting pressure on the digestive system.
Shoulder Stand: Puts pressure on the thyroid gland at the base of the throat, stimulating the endocrine system.
5. Yoga is Warm
Chances are, the cold makes you feel stiff and sluggish. All the more reason to roll out your mat for some hot yoga! Warming up your muscles and joints is good for the body, improving circulation, reducing stiffness and cramping, and helping you warm up. Your practice will build up an internal heat in your body keeping you toasty for hours.
- Written by Sarah Parlett, Yoga Instructor at Healthletica