In the last 10 years yoga has grown by about 1000% percent! The new millennium has brought many versions of yoga into the mainstream. Yoga classes have hit the fitness, wellness, and healing industries. We at Zama are thrilled! While we adore helping our clients feel better, we love seeing them take ownership of their health through vehicles of wellness like yoga!
The holiday time of year can be fun, full, magical, and often stressful. When life gets too busy and overwhelming, restorative practices such as yoga and meditation are even more important. Those who practice yoga and meditation are more likely to be more efficient, clear headed, emotionally resilient, and avoid negative stimuli more frequently.
For this reason, we have lovingly put together this blog to inspire you to incorporate simple yoga poses and practices frequently, at home, at the office, or even while shopping. Take frequent mini breaks to care for your body, clear your mind, and move difficult emotions through your body.
Zama’s 12 Days of Yoga
The First Day: Easy Pose/Meditation
Relaxing the mind is at the core of practicing yoga. We take what we learn in our yoga practice and bring it into our daily lives. Mindfulness helps us break bad habits, eliminate negativity, and diminish stress.
For meditation beginners we recommend starting with 3 to 10 minutes every day. Longer sessions of 2o to 30 minutes can be even more restorative. Simply sit in lotus position or in a chair, preferably with an upright spine, and focus on your breath. Anytime during the day is great, but first thing in the morning is highly recommended to establish a more relaxed flow to your day.
Allow stress and worry to take a backseat and let creativity and positivity to fill up your mental and emotional space. Meditation is a cornerstone habit for successes of all kinds. Even holiday success.
Second Day: Mountain Pose
Mountain pose is simple, yet powerful. It improves posture, which prevents many back issues, especially sciatica. In mountain pose, we stand with our feet together and toes slightly lifted. The pelvis is tucked and the rib cage is lifted. Shoulders are relaxed and rotated back and down. Practice mountain pose while waiting in long shopping lines, or take a standing break in a sit down meeting. This pose strengthens the core and helps give you the best gift of all, proper alignment.
Third Day: Corpse Pose
Who doesn’t love Śavāsana? Corpse pose can be done lying on your back. Your shoulder blades are pulled back, and resting evenly on the earth. The legs are splayed open and heels are in and the toes flop out. Your eyes are closed and everything is relaxed. Your gaze is inward. Sound good, eh?! While corpse pose takes little to no effort it delivers benefits we all need: relaxation, better rest, and relief for depression and stress. The best place for corpse pose is below the holiday tree or in a room where no one can bother you!
Fourth Day: Neck Stretch
Okay, admittedly, this one is not officially yoga, but it is super helpful and very easy to do at your desk. We got this one from the Yoga Journal. They say, “Sit upright without letting your back touch the back of the chair. Align your head directly over your spine and feel the crown of your head lifting. You may want to hold on to the side of your chair seat with your left hand. Breathe in, and on the exhalation, drop your right ear toward your right shoulder without lifting your right shoulder or turning your head. Take several breaths in and out, feeling the stretch on the left side of your neck.” Repeat on the other side.
You’ll love how you can do this one in the office or the breakfast table and no one will look at you funny! Enjoy how it lengthens and stretches the neck.
Fifth Day through Tenth Days: Yoga for Digestion
Let’s face it! The holidays are the fullest time of the year when it concerns our bellies! Egg nog, roasts, cakes and cookies, champagne, creamed squash, holiday brunch, you name it! Our bellies need extra attention and care. Be sure to check our article on how to reduce your sugar intake.
To improve digestion we need to increase circulation, internal massage, and release of gas. We encourage poses that help give you an inversion as well as a twisted spine. Down Dog, Camel (see photo) Bridge, Boat, Wide Child’s, and Spinal Twist Poses all give your organs the support and encouragement they need help your body better care for its self. Be sure to click into each pose for instructions and benefits from Pocket Yoga.
Eleventh Day: Breathe Deeply
Breathe through the holidays. Breathe while you do yoga. Breathe in the shower. Breathe while you drive. Breathe while at work or Holiday shopping. For reals, just breathe! Deep breaths are even better. You will never look strange focusing on your breath, and you will ALWAYS get results. The benefits of breathing deeply and focusing breath work are many! According to the Chopra Center, deep breathing benefits are:
- Reduced anxiety and depression
- Lower/stabilized blood pressure
- Increased energy levels
- Muscle relaxation
- Decreased feelings of stress and overwhelm
Twelfth Day: Gratitude
Practicing gratitude is the number one positive psychology tool and arguably the best life hack. Whether you sit and meditate on all the wonderful ways your life is showing up for you, full of gifts and opportunities, or you do gratitude practices such as: journaling, letter writing, dinner table rituals, keep a gratitude jar, or simply employ a gratitude mindset, you are well on your way to experiencing a happier season.
There is even a science to gratitude! Researchers have found that gratitude opens the door to healthier relationships, improved physical and mental health, reduced aggression, and improved self esteem. An active gratitude practice will definitely help make your holiday season magical, calm, and meaningful.
And on that note, we want you to know that whether or not you are stopping by our website for the first time or visit Zama regularly, we appreciate you! Zama is a heartfelt, creative therapeutic endeavor that is deeply fulfilling to the owner, staff, and clients. We are so happy to have you be a part of our community.