Happy healthy holidays
Great way to recover from a long journey
Hopefully part 1 of my healthy holiday blog series has seen you arrive at your destination cool, calm and collected, like those pictures of Hollywood film stars breezing through the arrivals lounge !
So let’s move on to staying on top form during your holiday, starting with jet lag and those general grotty feelings we can get from any travel. That sense of needing to move but feel too tired to do so, you might feel a bit dizzy or perhaps your digestion is out of kilter. Yoga is a fantastic pick me up for all these. I would recommend some gentle activations, followed by the physical energy block release 1 (that we do a lot in class!) to get everything moving again. You can then either have some proper relaxation time or move on to a balance practise, a must if you still feel like you’re on board ship. Tree is always my go to posture for letting my mind and soul catch up with my body. I also then like to move into the earth sequence (prithvi namaskar), again good for balance, grounding and deepening the breath, so that all my body systems are refreshed. As always check out any contra-indications before using essential oils, but I’ve always found a little drop of vetivert at the base of my spine brings me back to earth.
Summer is a dry, warm season which can increase the heat in our body. The heat and sun outside can move our digestive fire, bringing it to the surface, which is why we get things like hay fever, prickly heat and bites become irritating. It also goes some way to explaining why we get tummy upset on holidays or suffer the other way with constipation – our digestive fire is depleted and cannot do the job it’s meant to.
So, let’s take these separately. Take heat out of the body by practising the Seat of Compassion sequence, Bridge pose and lying twists and see all my heat reducing tips in my summer blog, posted earlier. Use the cooling breaths too, try this one:
Roll your tongue into a “straw”, and inhale through the straw.
Relax the tongue and exhale through the nose.
Repeat as necessary.
Avoid heating practises such as sun sequence and inversions (shoulderstands, ploughs and dogs).
Bites are tricky! And painful and irritating to say the least. Keeping your cool and the body cool is a good thing to do anyway but particularly helpful where bites are concerned. Louise Hay in her fascinating book “You can heal your life” suggests that bites are to connected with fear, being open to every slight, guilt or irritation with yourself or others. I always find Echinacea useful as a blood purifier and try a variety of remedies, for some reason I’ve never fathomed it swaps and changes which one works for me, maybe it’s to do with what’s doing the biting and how am I at the time. Anyway, things that I’ve found help are dabbing the bite with rescue remedy, or lavender essential oil and various homeopathic remedies. Citronella makes a great insect repellent. I’ve also found that eating sugary foods and drinking alcohol seems to make me more tasty to biters, whilst taking a vitamin B supplement stops the bites becoming hard and itchy (I’m guessing this is the keeping cool connection, as vitamin B is needed to combat stress).
For stomach upsets, Crocodile is without doubt the greatest gift, settling griping tummies like nothing else I know, here’s how to do it if you’re not sure. Lie on your tummy on the floor. Fold your arms, so that you can rest your head on your hands. Separate the legs as wide as you feel comfortable, allow the heels to fall in and the toes to point out. Rest here for as long as you wish, focussing on the breath expanding your abdomen as you breathe in, and relaxing as you breathe out.
I would also recommend the lying twists and the lying head to knee pose. These are good for all digestive problems. Practice before you eat if you get a lot of acid, and if your digestion is sluggish try the head to knee pose altering the breath, ie. so you exhale as you bring the knee in, inhale as you lift the head, exhale head lowers, inhale as you stretch the leg out. 4 times on each side, starting with the right leg.
These tip are not intending to be replacements for medical advice or intervention so if in doubt please see a medical practitioner. Always check out any contra-indications before using essential oils.
Hope these ideas help you to make the most of your holidays and I’m sure you have many more tips to share with us. Oh, and don’t forget to send me your photos of you doing your yoga outside, the competition is hotting up! Ix