- Yoga can help you stay fit and maintain a healthy weight
- Try meditation to reduce stress during the festive season
- Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated
The festival season is upon us, and we all know what this means. Celebrations bring plenty of joy, cheer and laughter along with your family and loved ones. Of course, festivals would be incomplete without the spread of tasty and irresistible delicacies to tantalise your taste buds. But, if you're one of those people who worry about piling on the pounds on the pretext of festivities, here's what you need to know.
Festivals are special occasions where we get to savour all the good things of life whole-heartedly. It would not do if you began depriving yourself of your favourite sweets and other festive treats. Instead, play it smart by including yoga practices of asanas, pranayama and meditation in your regular routine. Yoga is a wonderful tool for the well-being of your mind, body and spirit. Here are a few practices that can aid you in weight management to help you stay fit and energetic through the festive season.
Stay fit this festive season with yoga
Warm-up will simply keep you from injuring yourself, so you can enjoy a safe and awareness-filled practice. In the practice of yoga, the warm up routine begins from the leg up. So, start mobilising your ankles to slowly warm up the joints, gentle rotation of hips, arms, wrists, head and neck come last. Walk around briskly, and stretch and loosen up your muscles. This will prepare your body for a practice, and keep you safe from practice-related injuries. Before you attempt any back-bending postures, ensure that your body is sufficiently warmed up.
Make sure that you supplement your heavy festival meals with vitamins, minerals, proteins and carbohydrates. A good way to enjoy all the treats that come your way is by exercising moderation. Do not go overboard with the indulgence, but neither should you deprive yourself. Consume items which provide you with bodily strength mental happiness. Drink plenty of water and leave a gap of at least 3-4 hours between meals and keep snacking to a minimum.
Sweat it out with Asanas
This is a great asana to help you improve your digestion and can be done immediately after a meal. To practice this pose, begin by standing straight with your arms by the sides of your body. Lean forward and slowly drop your knees on your mat. Place your pelvis on your heels and point your toes outward. Here, your thighs should press your calf muscles. Keep your heels close to each other. Do not place the toes on top of the other, instead right and left must be next to each other. Place your palms on your knees facing upward. Straighten your back and look forward.
2. Ekapada Malasana
From downward facing dog, step your feet outside the hands, and lower the body down into Malasana. Try to press your heels firmly down by sitting with feet slightly wide. Shift the weight onto your right foot. Lift your left foot from the floor, and begin to extend the leg straight out in front of you. Flex the lifted foot and straighten the knee. Once you've found your balance, lift the hands from the floor and join the palms together.
Kneel on the yoga mat and place your hands on the hips. Simultaneously, arch your back and slide your palms over your feet till the arms are straight. Do not strain or flex your neck but keep it in a neutral position. Stay in this posture for a couple of breaths. Breathe out and slowly come back to the initial pose. Withdraw your hands and bring them back to your hips as you straighten up.
Exhale and gently bend your upper body, dropping your head and keeping your shoulders and neck relaxed. Bring the trunk closer to the legs. Try to touch the knees with the forehead. This may require lot of flexibility. If you are starting out your practice, go only as far as it is comfortable. When you are folding forward, attempt to move your torso from the hip joints, instead of the waist. Place palms on either side of feet. Try to keep the legs and knees straight throughout the practice. If you are a beginner, you may have to bend your knees slightly to accomplish this.
Relax the Mind with Meditation
Festivals can feel pretty taxing for your mental health as you get caught up in a flurry of activities with no quiet time for yourself. Meditation techniques can be simple and very useful in calming the mind and soothing jangled nerves. You can start your day with a few minutes of meditation and sit for a few quiet moments. Meditation Techniques like Bhavigatha Dhyan and Aarambh Dhyan are easy and great whether you are a beginner or have meditated before. You can also include breathing exercises such as Kapal Bhati, Anulom Vilom or Khand Pranayama to meditate on your breath.
To truly celebrate the spirit of the festivities, you cannot spend most of your time counting the calories. Each occasion should be given its due, so do not make it about guilt or regret. A regular and consistent fitness practice will boost your metabolism ensuring that you don't have to worry about festival indulgence. Set attainable and realistic goals for yourself that encourages you to stay on track. With a minimum of 30 minutes each morning, you can make a big investment in your health without missing out on the fun!
(Grand Master Akshar is a Yoga Master, Spiritual Guide and Lifestyle Coach)
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