The holidays are a time of celebration, and lucky as we are, for most of us a time of abundance. We spend intimate times with loved ones, have plenty of food and drinks on the table and enjoy a break from the rhythm of daily life. This all sounds, and is, amazing. How good this time of year can feel, just letting your foot slip off the break a little for a few days and eat what is on the table, have a celebrating drink or two, and stay up late to talk to family and friends. This is what can give that extra zest to life, isn’t it?
Your doshas however may find this a little less pleasant. They are being extra challenged to keep performing their tasks optimally. This may not be a problem, since you can also see your doshas as a buffer. They are somewhat flexible and able to absorb whatever festive outburst you have planned. But deviating from our regular schedule in terms of sleep, eat, drink and social activities for a few days in a row is almost a promise for some imbalances in the doshas. Now, not to worry, you do not need to cancel any plans or say no to spontaneous celebrations. Here are a few tips for you to help your doshas & digestive fire to get through the holidays happy and balanced.
1. Have a slice of ginger half an hour before your meal. You can add a squeeze of lemon and a pinch of salt on it. This helps your digestive fire to lit up, preparing you for the food that is to come.
2. After dinner have a little walk to help you digest before you head off to bed. This will increase the quality of sleep and your will wake up more rested.
3. Have 2 tablets of Triphala at night with some warm water. Triphala enhances the process of digestion and is believed to detoxify the body and support the immune system. Triphala is save for almost everyone, if your are not pregnant or breastfeeding and taken for a limited period of time.
4. The next morning, have 2 glasses of lemon water on an empty stomach. This helps to flush toxins out of the system. And do not forget to scrape your tongue!
5. Oke, abhyangha. This really depends on how you feel. So when you wake up, feel your body before you get out of bed. Do you feel heavy, lazy and foggy? Skip your oil massage since probably your body is still digesting your dinner. Do you have an active, scattered mind, and you didn’t sleep well after all of the social talk, then yes, go for it! The oil might be just what your Vata needs right now.
6. Do some pranayama in the morning, before breakfast. Kapalabhati, Brahmari and Nadi Shodana are our favourites for this time of the year. Take Kapalabhati 100 times at a comfortable pace, Brahmari 7 times and 3-5 minutes of Nadi shodana. These breathing exercises help to keep your digestive fire burning, aid the natural cleaning process of the body and balance out the Yin and Yang energy. This might sound like a lot on your to-do list, but it will actually only take you a few minutes!
7. In the morning, after having your water, wait with breakfast until you get hungry.
8. Incorporate small stretches of time during the day for yourself. Have a walk in nature. Take the fresh air deeply into the lungs, feel the prana flowing and enjoy! We also love to take Yoga Nidra when we need a little extra rest during the day. Insight timer has a great offer of free guided Yoga Nidra sessions.
9. During the day sip on warm liquids. Drinking warm helps your digestive fire and helps to rinse toxins from your body. Ginger tea, CCF tea, nettle tea or simple warm water are great choices. Avoid gulping liquids down but instead have small amounts more frequently.
10. Keep the “normal” meals, more simple. Have a simple vegetable soup, rice and steamed veggies or kitchari on days that you don’t have a celebration. Your digestive fire will thank you!
Basically it all comes down to your ayurvedic routines. Keep tuning in with the needs of your body & mind and you will get through the holidays with a content body, a happy heart and an uplifted spirit!