8 Yoga life-hacks to get rid of December stress

It’s that time of the year again! The time of lights, love and fun, but also overeating, late night parties and rushing around for gifts. To make it less stressful this time around, here you go, 8 yogic life hacks!

lifehack

Yes, that’s right, reflect on the year that’s passing, get together with your loved ones and celebrate the year ahead calmer and more energized than ever before

1. Drink up for focus & energy
About 80% of the human body is water. With your digestive system doing over-time, all the stressing, and alcohol’s dehydrating effect on top, your body needs to stay hydrated more than ever. Hydration keeps your brain in top condition, your mood stable, and prevents tiredness, migraine, constipation, muscle cramps and bad breath.

The hack: Drink a big glass of room-temperature water right after you brush your teeth in the morning. Also: take altogether about 2-3 litres (8-12 cups) of water throughout the whole day. But don’t drink it right after a meal, especially not a cold drink, it will slow down your digestion.

2. Rise and shine… with a splash
When you don’t get enough sleep and party through the night, it can happen that you wake up puffy and feeling like a zombi. No more of that!

The hack: After you wash your face and mouth with cold water, hold cold water in your mouth and splash some more over your open eyes. This has a double cooling effect. Then blink your eyes seven times and rotate them in all directions (side to side, up and down, diagonally, clockwise, counterclockwise). Hello freshness & alertness!

3. The 15-minute energizer
I realize I might lose you with this one. How could getting up earlier than usually help you, right? Trust me, it’s well worth it.

The hack: Sun Salutations (Surya Namaskar) is a set of yoga postures best practiced in the morning, to energize your body, mind and spirit. Try it to believe it. It will stretch and tone the muscles of your entire body, improve blood circulation and stimulate your digestive, respiratory, and circulatory system. Regular sun salutations will also improve your intuition, bring more clarity and focus. Do 4-16 cycles and finish with a short relaxation lying on your back (Savasana). You can use this video as a reference.

4. Breathe through it
Breathing and mind are closely connected. Every thought changes the rhythm of breath and every breath changes the rhythm of thinking. Through the art of breath control (pranayama) we can influence the flow of vital energy in our body (prana), and our state of mind.

The hack: The first step is to become aware of your breath. Sit down with a straight spine and tuck your chin in to straighten your neck. Place your right palm on your chest and the left palm on your belly. Slowly inhale in the chest and exhale in the belly. Do 10-16 breaths. Notice the difference. Remember: smooth breath – calm mind. You can also do this after Sun Salutations, before going to bed or anytime during the day.

5. Bye bye hangover
Even if you usually stay away from alcohol, it can happen that during the party season you have a few too many drinks. And when you wake up in the morning… not pleasant.

The hack: Courtesy of Ayurveda (Indian system of traditional medicine):
– mix a glass of lukewarm water, 1 tsp lime juice, ½ tsp sugar, pinch of salt and, just before you drink it, mix in ½ tsp of baking soda, or
– squeeze a glass of fresh orange juice, mix in 1 tsp lime juice and a pinch of cumin powder, or
– get organic coconut water, or
– if you are feeling drowsy, headachy, with a burning stomach and no appetite: blend 1 tbs of yogurt, 1 cup water and a pinch of cumin powder – drink 3-4 times during the day. It prevents dehydration, relieves nausea and soothes a burning stomach.
(tsp=teaspoon, tbs=tablespoon)

6. Ate too much? Get back on track fast
Been there, done that… stomach pain, bloating, not being able to concentrate… not pleasant. In any case don’t beat yourself up about it, you enjoyed the food and that’s what matters. Here’s how to make it better fast.

The hack: Fennel seeds! Did you know that munching on a bunch of those will aid your digestion, relieve abdominal cramps, gas and bloating? Yes! Fennel seeds will also freshen your breath and they taste good. Just take a bunch and chew them well! I always keep some in my bag, handy stuff.

7. Sleep deprivation be gone
Yoga nidra, also known as yogic sleep or sleep with awareness, induces a full-body relaxation and a deep meditative state of consciousness. Slowing down your brain-waves it gives your nervous system a well deserved rest and allows you to occasionally “cheat” through sleep-deprivation. Some say that 1 hour of yoga nidra substitutes 7 hours of sleep. I’m not sure about that, but it always works wonders when I don’t get enough sleep.

The hack: You just lie down comfortably, close your eyes and follow the guided relaxation. The length will vary from 20 minutes to 1 hour, depending on which recording you choose. Here’s a shorter and a longer example, but you have many more to choose from on the web. Try it and emerge refreshed! A suggestion – cover your eyes with a lavender eye pillow to relax even deeper. P.S.: I’m preparing guided meditations and relaxations to be available soon on my website. Follow the blog to get notified!

8. Slow down, tune in
When we are balanced we are happy, healthy and we handle stress better. But how do we get there? Meditation is the art of bringing harmony to the body, mind and consciousness. It helps us achieve mental clarity, alertness, effectiveness, and a better ability to cope with a hectic work environment. It also simply means that you gently take what you deserve – space and time in your life, for your self.

The hack: Take 10 minutes out of your busy day to sit in a quiet place. Straighten your spine, relax your body and close your eyes. Take a few breaths as described in hack 4.. Visualize yourself in a place, where you feel calm and relaxed, it may be a forest, a beach, a place where you regularly go, or perhaps you visited it only once, wherever you feel calm. Notice how your breath is expanding. Feel with your whole body and mind actually being in that place. Keep breathing slowly and smoothly, stay alert and relaxed.

If any thoughts come, acknowledge them, but do not follow them. Let them pass by, like clouds in the sky. Continue as long as it feels comfortable. Before you finish, deepen your breath and repeat to yourself an affirmation of your choice three times. “All is well.“ or anything else that you feel you need in that moment. Open your eyes.

May your holidays be full of light & love! 

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