Holiday Yoga With Rebecca Santillo
NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – This time of year can be very stressful as we run through the stores battling crowds, searching for the “perfect” gifts, planning the perfect Christmas party. Then once you add on all the Christmas cookies and all the overeating that comes with this time of year, it’s no wonder we are left feeling pretty awful – physically, mentally, emotionally.
Rebecca Santillo brings her friend and fellow yoga teacher Karen Wexell to help demonstrate a few moves to help combat some of the common symptoms of the holidays. All of these moves can be done at any time of the day.
Karen is starting with a basic Sun Salutation. Sun salutations are a great way to get the heart rate up and burn off some of those extra calories that you may be consuming. They also help to increase your energy, build up your strength and endurance and increase your flexibility. Every movement Karen is making here is coordinating with her breath. You can also think of a sun salutation, and yoga in general really, as a moving meditation. When we are mindful, really concentrating and focused on our every move, that helps to calm the mind. And that is when we find our stress levels go down.
From the sun salutation, Karen is going to go right into chair pose with a twist. Twists help to combat another common complaint associated with the holidays — bloating. So not only is she working to strengthen her legs, butt and getting a nice opening of the spine, the chair twist also helps to squeeze out extra fluids that can accumulate in the belly.
Next, Karen is going to come down to the ground for another pose to help get your digestive system moving better. Wind relieving pose does just as the name suggests – it rids the stomach and intestines of unwanted gas. Here, using the breath is key to help get the most out of the pose. And of course, staying mindful, staying in the moment, bringing your full attention to every movement to help get grounded and centered.
Karen is going to come next to child pose, which is a great pose to help you de-stress. Stress of course is a big factor during this time of year. I heard a great quote the other day. “If you think you are enlightened, spend a week with your family.” Family can be stressful, the pressure we put on ourselves to decorate everything just right, cook everything just right, give exactly the right gift to everyone – all of that can really suck the joy out of the holidays. No only does child pose help to calm the body and mind, it also is a great way to release deep tension in the back. And again, taking deep breaths will really help to aid in relaxation.
Finally Karen is going to come to easy pose for meditation. Now I know meditation can be intimidating to a lot of people, so don’t think that you need to sit cross-legged on the floor for an hour to reap the benefits. Just simply being mindful during the course of your normal day will do wonders to help improve your peace of mind. Maybe just sit comfortably on your couch for a few minutes and gaze at the lights on your tree. Or give your full attention to that cup of tea or hot cocoa. Engage all the senses, feel how your body responds to everything. That is meditation, that is mindfulness and that is how you will get through the holidays feeling less frazzled, more at ease, and more joyful.
Classes with Rebecca:
Open Flow Yoga
8:30am – 9:30am
Patricia’s School of Dance
202 North Plains Industrial Road
Wallingford, CT 06492
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