Top 10 Reasons to begin a Restorative Yoga practice this Holiday Season

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Ah Christmas! A time of year when people get a little bit jollier, decorations get a little bit brighter, and our lives seem to get a little bit busier. Now, I’m sure I’m not the only one out there who feels some Love/Hate with this time of year. While I love all the extra time with loved ones, the giving, and the general spirit of the season; I find that each year, at some point during December, I begin to feel overwhelmed, anxious, and exhausted.

The practice of Restorative Yoga can come as a blessing; especially at this time of year. Whether you are an avid yogi who has never considered a restorative practice, or if you don’t even own a yoga mat, my Top 10 Reasons to begin a Restorative Yoga practice this Holiday Season will have you wondering what took you all year to try it!

10. Get some ALONE TIME
Yes, holiday parties are a blast. However, they also mean extra food, extra drink, and a lot less sleep. A restorative practice can be a time to reconnect with yourself while getting a break from all the holiday parties (and punch!)

9. Its STRESS-FREE
For most of us, the holidays come with spending. This spending can lead to a lot of stress. Our minds are busy thinking: What should I buy so-and-so? How much should I spend? Can I afford this? We spend so much time planning, budgeting, and problem solving. A restorative yoga practice can be your time to set all those tasks aside to quiet the racing mind for a while.

8. You can WARM-UP
Instead of adding a little more rum to your egg nog, why not try getting warm on your mat with blankets and bolsters. Restorative yoga is all about comfort and this can make for a cozy escape from the cold and snow.

7. Give yourself THE GIFT OF RELAXATION
With all the giving to others (which is the most important part of the holidays), we often lose ourselves. It’s ok to also give yourself a treat once and a while. What better way to treat your body than to allow it time to be still and let go.

6. Its GUILT FREE
For many of us, our exercise regimes may fall a bit by the wayside during this time of year. We sleep in, put on a few extra pounds, and possibly have a few extra cocktails. This can lead to feelings of guilt for not keeping up with our exercise routine. Taking some time to do a restorative practice helps to feel better about this. You might not be doing an hour of Asthanga yoga, or going for that run, but at least you made it to your mat and nurtured your body.

5. It cultivates GRATITUDE
Christmas is a time to be grateful for the many gifts we enjoy. Yet, sometimes we end up spending more time complaining than being grateful. Restorative yoga can create a space to cultivate gratitude. Each time you get to your mat, think of at least 3 things you are grateful for in that moment. Meditate on them throughout your practice.

4. Time to CONNECT WITH THE SEASON
The true spirit of the season means many different things for different people. Whatever it means for you, try not to get lost in the materialism or family politics. Use this joyous time to reconnect with your spirituality or all the things you love about the holidays. Meditate on them throughout your practice.

3. You can GIVE IT TO A FRIEND
Perhaps you know someone who may need to relax even more than you do. Perhaps someone in your life who may find the holidays difficult, or someone who needs some encouragement to follow through. Take this friend along with you to a restorative yoga class (its perfect for absolute beginners!) and give them the gift of support just by being next to them.

2. Help your DIGESTION
If you’re like me, you can’t help yourself with all the amazing goodies during the holidays. It’s ok to indulge a little this time of year, but that can definitely have negative effects on our bowels. Restorative yoga will help your body activate its parasympathetic nervous system which is the system responsible for things like immune function, sleep, and yes, digestion. So if you’re worried about “blockages” due to extra carbs and sweets, Restorative yoga could be your solution!

1. It helps to SET NEW INTENTIONS
Before we know it, it will December 31st and everyone will be talking about “resolutions”. In yoga we prefer to make intentions. Intentions give your practice more depth or meaning. You can dedicate your restorative practice to someone or something in your life that needs peace more than you. You can also set an intention to better honour your body or to make more time to connect with your inner self. Whatever the intention, begin to set them now and you’ll be more optimistic when January rolls around.

Above all else, be sure to listen to your heart this holiday season and surround yourself with nurturing love!

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