Celebrate this holiday season, and bring well-being”om” for the holidays.

For many, the festive season is the perfect time to escape on a rejuvenating yoga retreat – either at home, or somewhere a little more warm! The dark, cold Winter months can test our bodies and minds – yet there’s plenty we can do to bolster our immune system and maximize the chance of staying healthy. As well as, maintaining a committed yoga practice, there are many ways to help yourself get through the Winter months with body and soul intact The yoga philosophy tells us, resisting something – in this case, the Winter – we have no control over only brings us pain (ahimsa).

So why not actively embrace the coming Winter – accepting the ups and downs of this Season, and opening up to its possibilities, rather than closing up against it? For some it can be a hard time to find the time, with all the hustle and bustle and swirl of commercial and social pressures. Around the holidays, you can find a heap full of stocking fun filled Yoga karma classes around town!  Sometimes, giving the gift of community and investing in a community charity project, can help remind you (and others) the meaning behind Christmas. And it’s a great way to stay in touch with your inner “santa’s little helper” and stay healthy!

Apart for yoga and community giviing, here are some tips to stay healthy and keep your well-being from getting frosty this Winter:

  • Favor a warm, nourishing diet. As human’s we’re designed to eat more in Winter, adding a few pounds without guilt! However, it must be the right types of foods to nurture whilst minimizing congestion and maximizing our immune systems. Rice, barley, rye, healthy oils (ghee, coconut, linseed, avocado, hemp, olive), and seasonal root vegetables in soups and stews are all recommended.
  • Fancy a glass of organic Merlot? The good news is that Ayurveda suggest an occasional glass of warming wine may be beneficial in Winter. You can make a warming wine punch with added cinnamon, cardamom, clove, ginger, fennel, cumin, coriander, nutmeg and black pepper.
  • Saunas, steam rooms, hot yoga and massage are key to staying warm in the winter months. Ground yourself with a massage with a warm sesame oil or olive oil followed by a warm shower/ bath to prevent feelings of coldness, and stiff, aching joints.
  • It’s a good idea to be up by 7am latest and to do some vigorous exercise to get the lymph system moving  towards preventing congestion.  Sun salutations and modified vinyasa flows are ideal as they build up heat and work all the major muscles. Add in corrective movement and you have a reciepe for endured holiday merriment!
  • Herbal help: Chyvanaprash can be taken daily to strengthen the lungs and boost the immune system. For recurrent colds, take Trikatu made of ginger, black pepper and long pepper, which dry up mucous and clear channels. It is traditionally taken with raw honey. Turmeric is a natural antibiotic for all respiratory tract infections. Boil half a cup of water with 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric, add a little milk then use as a gargle. Chew a clove a day to keep infections at bay. Raw honey (such as from your local farmers market) is also excellent for clearing mucous as its heating, drying and channel clearing. However make sure to never heat honey; Ayurveda considers this makes it toxic.
  • Every year in just about every town, unique individuals come out of the philanthropic wood word and embody the message of the holidays, by creating their own traditions—whether that means giving back to their community, reversing the swirl of over-consumption, reaching out to those overwhelmed with suffering, or celebrating the gifts of life and love.

Whatever your holiday routine is, remember to take time out to celebrate yourself and your health!

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