Today, I received an email from new om galpal, published author, and fellow yoga teacher, Josephine Selander of Sweden. (Together, we're planning a private retreat in January, when she'll next visit the States). I had to laugh at her succinct way of rounding up the frenetic pace of the holiday season by saying, " . . . you know how time has an interesting way [of moving] faster than ever sometimes."
If this is the case for you, then chances are your yoga practice is feeling the time crunch too. Thus, "Elf of Heath" tips 5 and 6 will focus on maximizing what precious little time you might have to spend on your yoga mat. (My apologies for the lapse yesterday; the Internet Elf owes my apartment a visit to remedy some current technology issues).
Tip 5: If you simply cannot get to yoga class or manage a home practice (even an abbreviated one), one of the best ways to shift your energy, clear your head, and regain energetic balance is to do an inversion for five minutes, thereby flipping your world upside down. A headstand, for example, will give you energy before a holiday fete, while viparita karani soothes frayed nerves after a shopping trip at the mall. Both are highly potent, so just a few minutes will work wonders. In both cases, substituting an inversion for a complete practice is an accessible and effective way of staying centered.
Tip 6: Similarly, if you want to give your asana practice a serious "kick" (no pun intended), try kicking up into handstand (against a wall). This pose can charge up a shortened home practice or jump-start a practice at a studio before class begins. Since this movement is extremely invigorating- and, yes, meant only for veteran yogis- it quickly heats the body and readies the senses for an energized practice. Starting off a practice with 3 rounds of 10 breaths in each repetition of handstand will initiate a clarifying and strengthening outcome. Remember, your time during the holidays might be scarce, but your yoga inspiration need not be. Just keep checking back in with OmGal.com every day!