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YogaDork Survival Guide to Thanksgiving-Black Friday-Holiday Madness

in Thanks for the tip, YogaHaha

Oh my! Is it really Thanksgiving? Are you ready for the best holiday ever? Well you should be! You’re yogis! You know how to stay centered, be present, savor the moment, show gratitude, breathe, and for goodness sake enjoy all the wonderful things life has to offer. So who says this can’t be the most splendidly fantastic Thanksgiving yet? Yeah!

OK, now that that’s settled, we admit it, the holidays are totally nuts! And can easily cause us to lose our balance, with gathering relatives, amazingly delicious food, pressures of spending money, not having enough time, patience, energy for it all…ahh! We get it.

That’s why we have for you a YogaDork’s Guide to Surviving Thanksgiving/Black Friday/Holiday Madness. Stress? Never heard of it. 

Try These Poses to Relieve, Relax and Recharge

(Recommended BEFORE, DURING and AFTER seeing family)

  • Urdhva Baddhanguliyasana in Virasana – a fancy name for sit on your heels, interlace your fingers, flip your palms and extend your arms high up. Because A) you’re going need that (super)hero power B) after all that cooking, fork-lifting and penny pinching that 5 finger stretch is going to feel pretty damn good.
  • Uttanasana – ok, you filled your belly full of yum. Can you still see your toes? You’re good! No? Rest your sitting bones against a wall and walk your feet forward, there they are 🙂 Or even better…Have a seat. Bend. Bingo.
  • Vrksasana – Tree pose. You know the hollow leg joke? Where does all that food go? Stand on each one of them and reclaim those legs for balance, and things like walking, which you’ll be doing lots of later we’re sure.
  • Pavanmuktasana – Easy there delightful food muncher, aid digestion with wind releasing pose! Lie on your back, inhale. Exhale and pull one knee in towards your chest. Inhale, release. Exhale and pull the other knee in. Find a nice sound-proof space on your own and keep switching on the breath.
  • Sirasasana – Headstand is always good when you feel your head might explode from all the _____.
  • Reclining Spinal Twist – After stuffing and pie, let’s face it, you’re gonna want to take this lying down.
  • Savasana – Ahhh, relax, you deserve it! So important to take time out and LET GO. Let go of stress, to-do lists, busy plans, expanding waistlines. Be you. You are.

Try this Thanksgiving Meditation, inspired by Meta (loving-kindness) 5-10 minutes

  • Find a comfortable seat (or posture), close your eyes.
  • Think of someone for whom you wish to give gratitude, or forgiveness. Perhaps you’re still holding some sort of pain or upset for this person.
  • Visualize them standing right in front you. See your heart connect with their heart.
  • Offer love, gratitude, and maybe even move one step closer to forgiveness.
  • Notice where you’re still holding tension in the body, and Let It Go.
  • Repeat as often as necessary.*

*This works WONDERS as a bathroom escape at family gatherings. Believe us. But for extra points, get your family to join in with you.

Oh, and of course, BREATHE! But you knew that.

Pranayama – Nadi Shodhana (alternate nostril breathing) a great addition.

Enjoy the holiday!

With Gratitude, YD.

Have more tips? Share in the comments!



8 comments… add one
  • Yesss, stoked to see your bathroom escape suggestion! Wash your hands, close a stall and practice several rounds of alternate nostil exhale- emerge centered and calm. I love hearing student’s stories about how well this works year round but especially through the Holidaze! I posted a video to help students remember the technique if any of you want some extra tools in your box of Yoga fun!

    vid here- http://yogaempowered.blogspot.com/2010/06/add-yoga-to-your-day-quick-tips-to.html

    • Shanda

      Oh how fun!! Staying on the topic of bathroom meditation / pranayama / asana for a moment, I often practice uttanasana with long exhalations in the bathroom as a way to de-stress when I might otherwise be freaked out (that is, if I weren’t the magnificent yogini that I am… ahem..)

  • theresa

    Ah, bathroom escape asana, I know you well. I escape to the work bathroom during stress moments and do a little half sun salutations. The rhythm, the breath, and focus on something completely removed from the workplace helps me to de-stress and look at things with clearer eyes. I can definitely see this as helpful when confronted with family members that might make one tense and flustered… not that I have any experience with that or anything. ..:wink:..

  • Andrea Jasmin

    I’m new to your blog and I love it!

    Great article- Pavanmuktasana- what a great idea after all the gluttonous activity that will take place. I think I shall see if my non practicing family is interested in joining in on this one. 🙂

    My bathroom escape (usually during my stressful job) is also Uttanasana. pranayama and some time upside down works wonders!

  • Wonderful – feel fully equiped to handle the hoards of family, food and frenzy over the next month. You may also want to add to your arsenal listening to Reflections 2010 – a series of 12 live radio interviews with yoga & mindful living notables (aka superstars). We kick off the fun on Dec 1st with Sadie Nardini. http://www.blogtalkradio.com/profile.aspx?userurl=yoga-in-my-school

  • Such a nice article.. I love this blog ..

  • there comes a time in a woman’s life when she stops cooking for others and people cook for her. that time is now. yay me. old enough to call myself a woman of a certain age and THAT’S what I’M grateful for!

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