This post is sponsored by LARABAR and I was compensated for my time, but all opinions are my own.
The holiday season is upon us already. With Thanksgiving quickly approaching, meal planning going into overdrive, and the busy holiday schedule in December, it can be hard to stay healthy and sane throughout the season.
One of my favorite ways to beat the stress and find more joy in the holidays is to hit my yoga mat and support my body with nourishing foods.
Here are five yoga poses I love that keep me centered, calm, and strong all season long:
I usually warm up with three to five rounds of Sun Salutations or add them in after Cat/Cow pose.
1) Child’s Pose: Sit on your heels with your knees separated. Fold forward over your mat, keeping your hips on your heels as much as possible. Reach your arms ahead of you and take five slow, steady breaths. This pose will help you find a little more calm and peace.
2) Cat/Cow Pose: Come onto your hands and knees. Bring your knees under your hips and your wrists under your shoulders. Inhale as you drop your belly and lift your head, chest, and hips. Exhale as you curl your belly button toward your spine and tuck your head and hips. Repeat five times. This pose will help to improve digestion and release tension along the spine.
3) Plank Pose: From your hands and knees, step your feet toward the back of your mat, keeping your knees off the ground and your shoulders over your wrists. Press your heels back, squeeze your thighs to help keep your knees lifted, and engage your belly button into your spine. Try not to let your hips, chest, or shoulder blades sag. Hold for three to five breaths. This pose will help strengthen your core and keep your abdominal muscles strong all season.
4) Low Lunge Pose: Drop your knees to the ground and step your right foot forward, near the front of your mat. Slide your pelvis forward and down, so your front knee and ankle are stacked and your back knee is behind your hips. You can keep your hands on the ground or reach your hands up toward the ceiling. If you feel frisky, try lifting your back knee off the ground. Hold for five breaths and switch sides. This pose will help release tension in your hips, back, and hip flexors/psoas.
5) Seated Twist: Sit in a comfortable, cross-legged seat. Lengthen your spine and reach your arms up to the sky. As you exhale, bring your right hand behind you and your left hand across your right thigh, twisting your torso. Inhale back up and exhale to the left. Repeat five times to each side. End with three breaths in your comfortable seat with your hands at your chest. This pose helps to improve digestion, clear your head, and reduce tension.
If I have time, I try to follow this up with a nice long savasana and/or seated meditation.
In addition to these poses, I always make sure to have a healthy snack and plan out some healthy meals for the busy season. I make sure these include protein, along with healthy carbs and fats.
Snacks: LARABAR is my go-to for a healthy, portable snack. They are made with simple ingredients, sometimes just two or three, and taste like dessert. My favorite is the LARABAR Cashew Cookie. It tastes like an indulgent cookie but is made with simple ingredients that fuel me, rather than cause me to crash. This is the perfect snack to grab after I finish my yoga practice or any other workout.
Liquids: Hydration is key when you are trying to stay energized and healthy. Many times, hunger (when you’ve recently eaten) is actually a sign of thirst. Keeping water on hand will help you stay hydrated at any time. I also like green tea when the temps drop. My other favorites are healthy smoothies and juices, since they hydrate and fill me up.
Meals: In the warmer months, I love salads with salmon or grilled chicken. This keeps me feeling light but full, especially for a midday meal. But when the temps drop, salad just doesn’t cut it. In the colder months, I like to switch to a warmer plate with plenty of cooked, roasted root veggies, as well as lean, healthy protein. My favorites are sweet potatoes and acorn squash. For breakfast, a healthy yogurt is my go-to, with lots of fresh berries and seeds.
With a little preparation, a healthy balance, and some downtime, you can make this holiday as blissful as you’ve always dreamed it could be.
What are your favorite ways to support yourself during the holidays?
At LARABAR®, we believe that the foundation of a sound mind, body, and spirit is derived from what you eat—and what you eat is most delicious and satisfying when it’s in a whole, natural state.