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How to Practice Yoga During the Holidays

The holidays are here once again. We know, they can be a bit stressful. Traffic nearly doubles, retail lines grow, bank accounts decrease, decorations go up, family members argue, and pants get tighter. Sometimes it's easy to forget that the purpose of the holidays is to spend time with the ones that we love. We often get caught up in so many details of the holidays that we forget to stop and be present. We may even neglect our mental and physical health as the holiday stress grows. For some, yoga may be the last priority on the list, especially when the in-laws are coming into town.

Fortunately, this time of year doesn’t have to be stressful if you choose for it not to be. Regardless of whether you make it to the mat, here are some ways to still practice yoga during the holidays, even after 3 servings of pie.

Start your intention early
New Year’s resolutions are a cultural norm that allow people to set goals to better their life, wellbeing or happiness. Typically, January 1st brings a statement of what will change or improve for the upcoming year. Rather than waiting a couple of weeks, set your intention early and get started now. There is nothing like the present moment. “Early” can also pertain to the time of day. Begin your day with some pranayama (breathing exercises) and gentle asanas to both clear the lungs, send oxygen throughout the body, and get circulation moving. You don’t have to do anything fancy. A few cat-cows, a forward fold, and a downward dog would suffice. Starting your morning with yoga allows you to set a positive tone for the rest of your day.

Keep sight of the holiday spirit
It can be easy to get caught up in the shopping, cooking, decorating, and partying to really be mindful of the purpose of all of it. While it can be great to give or receive that perfect gift, the real meaning lies in the time spent together. Time is one thing you cannot buy, return, exchange, re-gift, or unwrap. As you come together with those you love, circle around the table and talk about your favorite memories. Maybe have each person say their favorite qualities about the others in the circle. Or grab your favorite board game to play. Whatever you choose, spending time with loved ones is a gift that is truly priceless.

Cozy the place up
Arguably one of the best things about the winter season is the chance to cuddle up with loved ones. Whether you get snow in your town or not, there’s nothing like some hot cocoa or eggnog to feel one with the season. Since we tend to spend more time indoors during the holidays, try adding some seasonal touches to your home. Lights and christmas trees are a given. But you can also add some candles, extra pillows, or throw blankets around to add a relaxing vibe to your humble abode. Simmer some fragrant smells on the stove like cinnamon or clove, or have some soothing meditation music playing in the background. Whether you’re practicing yoga at home with My Joy Yoga or visiting with friends, you and your guests will always feel at ease in your cozy space.

Squeeze in nutrition when you can
Sometimes it can be difficult to eat healthy, even more so during pumpkin pie season. We don’t mean to deprive you of that second serving or your mother’s favorite dish, but being aware of what you eat will help to identify foods that both give and take away your energy. Consciously make an effort to eat as many greens and wholesome ingredients as possible. Try adding substitutes like coconut oil or nut flours to your recipes as well. For the days that you double up on tempting goodies, turn to yoga to help detox the body and keep it mobile during the lazy days. Your mind and body will thank you for it later.

So as the jingle bells ring and the seasonal lights flicker, there are ways to still practice yoga off your mat. Yoga is not just the physical practice, but the mindfulness and mental clarity that it produces. Being aware and mindful of your day and behavior will help you to soak in more of the warm fuzzy moments that make this season so wonderful.

Need the perfect gift for a yogi in your life? Give them the best gift of all - the gift of yoga. A gift card to Joy Yoga Center will make the perfect gift for all of your yogi friends, and even yourself! You'll also be able to receive a $15 gift card for every $50 gift card purchased. So what are you waiting for? Start giving the gift of Joy this holiday season!

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