While we look forward to the holidays spent with our loved ones, this one goes out to the women in our lives who make sure our holidays are memorable, who make sure the food on the table is delicious and diverse, gifts are amazing, all the invites have been sent, guests are comfortable and the house is done up to a tee. To get all of this organized and make it look effortless and happy, is stressful. The poor icing on the top is the dreary weather. Here are a few simple things you can do, to ensure the holiday stress doesn’t get to you.
1. Try the 20 minute yogic sleep instead of the regular nap!
In the afternoon, you can give yourself a Yoga nidra or Yogic sleep break, which is a structured powernap, a meditative way of giving yourself deeper rest, where you take restful awareness through different parts of the body, relaxing them one by one and eventually on completion of the guided meditation, you feel rested and re-energized mentally and physically.
2. Abhyanga or a 15-20 minute foot massage before dinner
The feet that have been walking, running, basically been the moving force behind the successful Christmas parties deserve a good foot massage. You can have it right at home with just the right essential oils like Shankara’s Nourishing Foot Oil that has essential oils and extracts of calming herbs, can help you get the deep rejuvenating rest that you rightly deserve. It is rich with the essence of sunflower, jojoba, grapeseed, lemon basil, dashmoola, neem, cardamom, camphor, lemongrass, manjistha, lavender, ginger, olive leaves and Ashwagandha.
3. Self Abhyanga for the tired calves and muscles
Self-Abhyanga is the practice of massaging yourself with the help of oil to balance doshas or the three bio energies that govern our bodily functions. An essential Ayurvedic practice, it can also help you move through harsh winters without stress and constipation, which tends to increase during winters.
The three main benefits of Self Abhyanga are-
· Nourishes your body and has anti-aging effects.
· Stimulates internal organs and better circulation that improves waste removal and detoxification of the digestive system.
· Better sleep quality.
You can also massage your head, body and tightened calf and shoulder muscles with Shankara’s Muscle Release Oil, which is both soothing and aromatic, while the host of powerful, rare, exotic and highly beneficial ingredients like sunflower oleic oil; almond oil; sesame oil; grapeseed oil; squalane (Olive-derived); aloe vera oil; castor oil; jojoba oil; vitamin E Tocopherol; essential oils of sweet birch, lavender, camphor, cedarwood, helichrysu, boswellia extract, Melissa, licorice extract, arnica extract, blue chamomile, yarrow and turmeric, are designed to help soothe inflamed muscles and joints. The oil positively supports the natural healing properties of the body.
4. The gift of Panchakarma or the total body cleanse
Panchakarma or holistic detoxes are recommended to balance the Doshas in the body and remove the toxins from the deepest body tissues, including the ones you accumulate over the holidays from over eating, over indulgence and not sleeping nearly enough. The detoxes also substantially help in reducing the stagnation of body fluids, better circulation of blood and give you the best digestive detox.
Panchakarma is a set of cleansing processes prescribed by Ayurvedic doctors, based on the Dosha constitution of an individual. These treatments, using natural oils and lepas or masks, are tailor-made targeting the specific imbalances and Aama or toxins in the body.
One of the quieter and heavenly places for finest Panchakarma treatments that few people know about is the Art of Living Retreat Center, nestled at the top of Blue Ridge Mountains. The center has all the ingredients-spa retreats, Panchakarma retreats, Yoga, Meditation and Ayurveda retreat among other wellness retreats-that go into making a relaxed and rejuvenating vacation with some quality soul-time.
Some of the treatments you can dip into at the Art of Living Retreat Center:
· Abhyanga is a full body oil massage and here’s how you can do it. It improves skin texture, hydrates it and keeps it from flaking in this season. Abhyanga is your answer to all the hydration and relaxation needs for the body and mind.
Snehana is one of the main Shodhan or internal detoxification therapies prescribed in Ayurveda. In Sanskrit, Snehana means to oil or smoothen. This therapy softens, smoothens and prepares the body for the removal of the metabolic waste in the body.
Swedana or Sweat therapy is where the body is induced to sweat through herbal steam. Swedana is performed right before the detox therapy begins. Swedana improves blood circulation, removes toxins, lubricates the joints, improves the skin, lightens the stress in the body and makes the patient feel deeply relaxed.
Body massages with well-formulated calming body oils will help calm the Vata in the body.
There is no better way to say it. But meditating for just 20 minutes can give you the rest that equals a 4 hour worth of good night’s sleep! Here’s how you can meditate-
If you haven’t meditated before, you can use the tool of breath to keep bringing your mind back to the moment.
· Pick a quiet and peaceful place for meditation. It could be your bed or your yoga space or near your altar. But it is important to find a place where you are unlikely to be disturbed for the following 20 minutes
· Sit with your spine erect and legs crossed in Sukhasana or easy pose
· Make sure you are not starving or totally full before sitting down for meditation. Clue- have some dry fruits and sit for meditation if you want to do it first thing in the morning.
· Practice some light stretches before settling down for meditation.
· Take long deep breaths and pay close attention to how the breath moves along the nostrils to the stomach and back out of the nostrils.
· Move into your meditation. You can simply sit with your eyes closed and listen to this guided meditation called Panchakosha or Five Sheath Meditation, which is a guided meditation where one’s attention is moved through five layers of existence-environment, breath, body, mind, memory /intellect, to the self. Or you can also listen to Meditation For Transforming Emotions-a 20 minute meditation guided in the soothing effusive voice of the global spiritual leader, Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, that gradually replaces your restless, emotional states of heaviness, fatigue, sadness, apprehension to a state of total peace, happiness and golden acceptance.