Looking for ways to illuminate your life this December? Here are Ayurveda and yoga practices to help you light up even the darkest of days.

As the final month of the year, December is the perfect time to retreat and reflect. The juxtaposition? December also marks the start of a very busy season for celebrating holidays and meeting year end deadlines or goals.  

December is also the month punctuated by the winter solstice. It’s shorter, darker days can manifest melancholy in many of us. You might feel your shoulders tense up around your ears as anxiety builds from the pressure that comes with the need to “get it all done” and make time for socializing.

Or, you may find yourself releasing a deflating and defeating breath of air that rounds your spine in a sorrowful slump because this time of year is not full of holly, jolly, happy hoop-la for you.

Don’t despair—Ayurveda and yoga enhance our ability to live in balance and thrive when faced with challenges. Whether you lean toward feeling ungrounded and anxious because you are discombobulated by your busy-ness, or are more inclined to recoil and ruminate in December, these tips can help you.

Get Grounded

Set aside a few minutes each morning for checking in with yourself before you begin your day. Performing healthy practices at the beginning of your day supports you throughout the rest of your day.

Stay Warm & Moisturized

We all know that the dry, cold, windy weather of winter wreaks havoc on the skin but it can also wreak havoc on digestion and mood.  Dry, cold, and windy qualities can slow down digestion and create anxiety and depression.

  • Abhyanga (oil massage) is the antidote.  Giving yourself a warm oil massage is an act of self love.
  • Drink plenty of water. Ayurveda recommends drinking half of your healthy body weight in ounces of water each day; avoid cold water.  

Eat Well

  • Avoid skipping meals or eating cold, dry packaged foods on the go.
  • Favor warm, moist, well-cooked foods and warm beverages.
  • Try some chai! Chai supports digestion and is very comforting.
  • Ayurveda’s staple dish, kichari can serve as breakfast, lunch, or dinner and is simple to make.

Make Time for Yoga

When the body is in a good place, the mind has no choice but to follow. Try these  easy yoga poses for depression and anxiety.

Mingle with Mother Nature

Believe it or not, sometimes the reason why we tend to not feel well is the simple fact that we do not get outside enough in winter.  Be sure to bundle up, paying special attention to keeping the head/neck/ears warm, and spend time outside.  Any activity that gets you moving will help keep you warm and stimulate the senses in a healthy way. 

Recharge Your Batteries

If you’ve taken a look at your calendar and it’s overloaded with commitments, see where you can cut back and spend some solo time at home.  Ask  yourself, are you enforcing your boundaries or falling victim to societal pressures and pushing yourself to party past your limit or over extend yourself?  There will be more time after December to spread your good cheer and help others.  “Giving the shirt off your back” can leave you out in the cold!

Cultivate Connection

If loneliness tends to creep in at this time of year, you can seek meet and greets for lots of different activities, join a group meditation, yoga, or fitness class, and check your local community calendar or Meetup.com for activities in your area. 

You can also seek counseling in person or virtually.

But most importantly, circle back to your breathwork and meditation. These practices deepen your connection to your innermost self, which is often the most important missing link that can illuminate your life and relieve suffering.

Wishing you infinite wellness.

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