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Frazzled and fried from too many to-dos? We asked Beverly Price, registered dietitian, a registered yoga teacher and director of Reconnect with Food, a comprehensive eating disorder treatment center, to design a series of yoga poses for all sources of holiday stress from cooking for the whole fam, to sticking to one slice of pie, to surviving an encounter with your nosy Aunt Shirley. Here, a few helpful poses to strike for better health.
Pose: Reverse Warrior
Purpose: Help you eat more mindfully
You gorged on two — okay, three — kinds of pies, never even stopping to ask yourself if you were still hungry. To eat more mindfully next time, try reverse warrior pose. Start in a standing position and step back with your right leg, bending left knee to 90 degrees. Facing right, swing your left arm overhead so bicep is near left ear. Raise right arm and clasp hands, keeping shoulders down and chest open. Gaze down. “Think about grounding your feet into the floor and bringing your focus onto body so you can be more mindful about munching on your mat and off,” Price suggests.
Purpose: Help you better deal with difficult relatives
When Grandma starts to harangue you about when you and your boyfriend are getting married, take a deep breath, excuse yourself to another room and try this plank pose to obtain more composure and inner balance. Begin with your right palm planted on floor, right knee down and left leg extended out to the side. Push yourself up so your right leg is straight, your bent left leg is stacked on top. Reach your left arm towards the sky and gaze up. Keep your core strong and shoulders down to avoid hunching.
Pose: Seated Twist
Purpose: Banish bloat
Fact: Eating too much really can leave you feeling sluggish and bloated. This seated twist will help “wring” your stomach out, making way for a healthy day-after meal. Begin sitting with legs extended in front of you. Bend right knee, crossing right ankle over left thigh. Reach right arm six inches behind rear, placing palm on floor. Reach left arm overhead and twist so your left elbow rests outside your right knee. Press body open, gazing over right shoulder. “Imagine wringing out the toxins and bloat,” Price says.
Purpose: Decompress before hosting
Shouldering the responsibility for preparing a big meal and having your kitchen flooded with tons of noisy family members can be stressful. Camel pose will open your throat, so “anything you need to say, you can speak your truth,” Price says. (Even if that means playfully yelling, “OK, everybody, out of the kitchen!”) Prior to guests arriving, begin in a kneeling position and reach back, cupping each heel in the corresponding hand (If you can’t reach your heels, aim for your calves or backs of thighs). Let your head fall back and throat open up. Press chest and hips forward.
Pose: Seated Meditation
Purpose: Snag better Zzzs
If anxiety over heading home is wrecking your sleep, it’s time to tap into yoga’s stress-reduction powers with seated meditation. Sitting upright and cross-legged, inhale and exhale through nose in long, deep breaths. If you notice your mind wandering or chattering, bring your focus back to your breath to give those thoughts less importance. Try staying in this pose for 20 minutes if possible, ideally before bedtime. Price says, "If you clear your mind, you may sleep better.”
How do you stay centered during the holidays?
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