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Recovering from family drama. Post-holiday crowds at the stores. The financial pinch from buying all those holiday gifts. The cleanup after hosting your in-laws for two weeks. The temptation to eat all that leftover food in one sitting. The new year can start out stressful!
Before the holidays is a great time to detox. It can stave off weight gain and put you in a healthy mindset to help you resist temptation. And detoxing after the holiday “re-tox” — no matter how much carnage was left on that Thanksgiving dinner table, or how much stress crept into your weekend — is as easy as unrolling your mat. No matter when or on what level you could use a little realigning, this sequence is for you.
The holidays can be a time of fun and family. But for many, it can also be a time of added stress — good and bad! One of my favorite ways to stretch tight muscles and relieve stress is yoga. Speaking as a type-A, high-energy person, yoga is the perfect antidote to this stress-filled, anxiety-ridden, wound-up-tight-as-a-drum world we live in. For me, yoga is like personal therapy!
Sometimes I almost regret introducing my 14-year-old daughter to the delights of massage therapy, since she’s now as avid as I am to enjoy the relief and recalibration that come with a good professional treatment, which rarely comes cheap. Yet as a dancer, runner and dedicated student, she benefits as much as I do from the health advantages of bodywork, or even an occasional pedicure treat for her tired feet.
Lately, I’ve found myself thinking that a mother-daughter spa getaway might be refreshing for both us, and a fun way to connect outside our usual daily routine of overly packed schedules.
Traditionally, spa vacations have been romantic retreats for couples or escapes for harried women who juggle too much. Today, however, as kids’ lives get ever busier and stress becomes an issue that even preteens are dealing with, a family spa experience in a restful setting can accomplish two purposes: vacation time together while nurturing wellness for all ages.
Okay, so Emily Welsh, a Master Instructor for The FIRM, was actually far from “healthless” in her 20s. But one look at her answers to health and fitness questions will tell you Emily — now in her 30s — is now in an even healthier, happier place.
Numerous studies have confirmed the fact that the right amount of exercise relieves stress and boosts the immune system. It releases feel-good hormones — such as endorphins and adrenaline — and reduces levels of stress hormones.
Yet our natural reaction to stress is usually to take things out of our day that seem superfluous and time-consuming. Often that includes the time we spend on our own health. We sacrifice that time — and ourselves — to other more “important” causes at hand, even when the cause of our stress is something we don’t have control over anyway.
I’d like to point out three other important benefits of exercise that are less often highlighted — but equally great reasons to find time every day to just move.
Here at Gaiam, we don’t just walk the walk — we pose the pose. Many of us really do keep up a regular yoga practice, and yes, we love to use our Gaiam yoga mats, bags, straps, blocks and clothes. We also count ourselves lucky that we can do yoga at work — either on our own at the on-site gym or at weekly on-site yoga classes. There’s truly nothing like Warrior Pose to start the workday or Savasana to melt away stress at the end of it.
by Kimberly Fowler
People who are passionate about yoga often get really passionate about the style of yoga they practice. And controversy over what is “real” yoga and what isn’t — which style or philosophy is purer — goes back as far as, well, yoga. To me, all that doesn’t really matter. Getting people to practice yoga does. My philosophy is simple: Doing a little yoga is better than doing none at all.
Cardio and strength training oftentimes take center stage, but flexibility exercises are just as important in your fitness routine. Regular stretching can increase your range of motion, improve balance and posture and reduce the risk of injury. It can also improve circulation and relieve stress. And if that’s not enough, it actually feels good!