The holidays are a time of celebration: celebration of life and of our happiness. Despite the crazy times, for most of us these days are also a time of abundance. We spend intimate moments with loved ones, have plenty of food and drinks on the table, and enjoy a break from everyday life. This all sounds great and it is! How good can this time of year feel, just take it slow for a few days and eat what’s on the table, enjoy a few festive drinks, and stay up late to catch up with family and friends. This is what gives life that little extra shine, isn’t it?
Nevertheless, your doshas might find it all a little less pleasant. This time of year presents them with an extra challenge to continue to perform their tasks optimally. This doesn’t have to be a problem at all, as you can think of the doshas as a buffer. They’re somewhat flexible and can accommodate any festive eruption you’ve planned. But a few days in a row deviating from our “regular” schedule in terms of sleep, food, drink, and social activities is almost a promise for some imbalances in the doshas. Don’t worry, you don’t have to cancel plans or say no to spontaneous celebrations. Here are a few tips to help your doshas and digestive fire get through the holidays in a happy and balanced way.
How to get a happy belly
1. Take a slice of ginger half an hour before meals. You can add a dash of lemon and a small pinch of salt. This helps to stoke your digestive fire and prepare you for the, often heavier, food that is to come.
2. After dinner, take a small walk to help you digest before going to bed. This will increase the quality of your sleep, allowing you to wake up more rested.
3. In the evening, take 2 tablets of Triphala with some warm water. Triphala promotes the digestive process and is believed to detoxify the body and support the immune system. Triphala is safe for almost anyone, provided that you’re not pregnant or breastfeeding and take it for a limited period of time.
4. The next morning, take 2 glasses of lemon water on an empty stomach. This helps to flush toxins out of the system. And don’t forget to scrape your tongue!
5. Okay, abhyangha. This really depends on how you feel. So when you wake up, tune in with your body before you get out of bed. Feeling heavy, lazy, and foggy? Skip your oil massage, as your body is probably still digesting dinner. In case you have an active and agitated mind and didn’t sleep well after all the social conversations, yes, go for it! The oil may be exactly what your Vata needs right now.
6. Do your pranayama in the morning before breakfast. Kapalabhati, Brahmari and Nadi Shodana are my favorites for this time of year. Do Kapalabhati 100 times at a comfortable pace, Brahmari 7 times and 3-5 minutes of Nadi Shodana. These breathing exercises help keep your digestive fire burning, support the body’s natural cleansing process, and balance the Yin and Yang energies. This may sound like a lot on your to-do list, but it’ll actually only take you a few minutes!
7. In the morning, after drinking your lemon water, wait with breakfast until really getting physically hungry.
8. Take little bits of time out for yourself during the day. Take a walk in nature. Soak the fresh air deep into your lungs, feel the prana flowing, and enjoy! I also really like Yoga Nidra when I need some extra rest during the day. House of deep relax is your best friend during busy days.
9. Nip in warm liquids during the day. Warm drinks support your digestive system and assist in flushing toxins out of your body. Ginger tea, CCF tea, nettle tea or simple hot water are good choices. Avoid drinking large amounts at once, and instead take small amounts more often.
10. Keep the “normal” meals simpler. Eat a simple vegetable soup, rice and steamed vegetables or kitchari on days when you’re not having a party. Your digestive fire will thank you!
Basically, it all comes down to your Ayurvedic routines. Keep tuning in to the needs of your body & mind and you’ll spend the holidays with a happy body, a warm heart, and a cheerful spirit!