5 Ayurvedic Practices Your Body Craves During the Holidays
For many of us, November and December are among the busiest months of the year. From whirlwind office parties and family gatherings to last-minute travel and sometimes frantic gift-shopping, the holiday season can often be as stressful—and exhausting—as it is joyful! Conversely, if you’re spending this season on your own, you might find yourself feeling like you are missing out.
Fortunately, the wisdom of Ayurveda offers plenty of self-care strategies to help you stay centered and uplifted, no matter your holiday plans. As we enter the season of generous giving, here are five easy Ayurvedic practices to ensure you’re nurturing yourself.
1. Grounding Dinacharya
If you’re traveling a lot this season or rushing from one event to another, you might find it challenging to eat on time and get to bed at a reasonable hour. In Ayurveda, one of the most important ways to stay balanced is to observe a daily routine, or dinacharya—including tongue scraping, daily oil massage (abhyanga), and exercise. When things are hectic, you might have a hard time checking every item off the list! But even doing one or two of these things regularly will help calm that active Vata dosha and restore your natural rhythms. Staying home and flying solo? You might enjoy using the time to settle into a nurturing daily routine that provides deep rest for the busier times ahead.
2. Soothing Abhyanga
Abhyanga is particularly important in chilly Vata season. Self-massage with warm oil moisturizes dry skin, promotes better sleep, nourishes your mind and body, and helps your system release toxins. It’s also a great way to give your body some nurturing attention—whether you’re heading out for a busy day of visiting or hunkering down at home. Read more about what abhyanga can do for you.
3. Calming Yoga Asanas
Feeling frazzled after all those sugary desserts and holiday movie marathons? Don’t forget to get a little exercise this holiday season! While you might not have time to squeeze in trips to the gym, you can probably sneak in a yoga pose or two, or take walks with family or friends. Yoga asanas that favor slow, methodical movement are wonderfully balancing for cold, dry Vata season. They also help relieve nervous tension, massage the joints and muscles, and alleviate the accumulation of bloating or gas. The seat of Vata is the colon, so anything we can do to nurture our gut helps to balance Vata.
Need some suggestions? Check out our post on Balancing Vata Dosha with Yoga Asanas. If you are hosting visitors from out of town, have them join you at your favorite yoga class for a sweet gift of good health. Spending the holidays away from family? Consider a daily commitment to your yoga practice at home.
4. Balancing Eating Principles
This one might be a little tricky during the season of potlucks, rich foods, and sugary sweets! But the beauty of Ayurveda is that you can keep the principles in mind wherever you are. First things first: try and start your day with a warm, cooked breakfast like hot cereal or stewed fruit. A good breakfast will help with your food choices later in the day. Going to a potluck later on? Great! Bring a lightly spiced Ayurvedic dish everyone will love. Staying in? The holidays can be a great time to read up on basic principles of Ayurvedic cooking and explore the wealth of Ayurvedic recipes on our site. Perfect a few dishes, and then roll up your sleeves and invite a few friends over.
And if you do end up overindulging a little, just relax and enjoy. After all, the holidays only come once a year. Plus, there’s a certain level of bliss that comes from eating special treats with, or made by, family members and close connections. But if you find your digestion and elimination are a bit sluggish this holiday season, Herbal Di-Gest and Organic Digest Tone (Triphala Plus) can give you a little extra boost. Read more tips on Ayurvedic Strategies for Healthy Holiday Eating.
5. Uplifting Heart-Care Tips
In Ayurveda, the human heart is considered to be two hearts: the physical heart and the emotional heart. Both need nurturing, and especially during the holiday season. Consider fortifying your heart with Cardio Support and Stress Free Emotions. Visiting loved ones is deeply nourishing to the emotional heart, but it can also come with tensions at times. Whenever possible, try to keep the big picture in mind and remember what really matters: spending time together and enjoying those simple moments of connection. When the tinsel and presents are all put away, connection is the real gift of the holiday season.
And if you’re on your own, you might enjoy reading 5 Steps to Ayurvedic Self-Care for Your Whole Heart—which is full of heart-healthy tips for a happy, empowered, and connected new year.
The sole purpose of these articles is to provide information about the tradition of ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease. If you have any serious acute or chronic health concern, please consult a trained health professional who can fully assess your needs and address them effectively. If you are seeking the medical advice of a trained ayurvedic expert, call or e-mail us for the number of a physician in your area. Check with your doctor before taking herbs or using essential oils when pregnant or nursing.