November is the start of a season celebrating family and rest. It is also known notoriously as a time to eat excessive amounts of food. While it can be comforting to reach for a third helping of mashed potatoes or grab a few extra sweet rolls, it can lead to feeling more stuffed than that second serving of stuffing and gravy. While meals are often important places for gathering, socializing and bonding, the aftermath of consuming significantly more food than normal can leave the body feeling sluggish, exhausted and cranky.
While there are theories that the body naturally gains weight in the winter to keep warm, humans are not preparing to hibernate and the body thrives when balanced physically (i.e. weight management), mentally and spiritually. The Mayo Clinic recommends regular exercise to help relieve stress and anxiety which can flare up this time of year. In addition, exercising as a lifestyle choice is linked to decreased symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
24 Yoga Poses to Burn Off All Your New Thanksgiving Weight
During this time for giving thanks, take a moment on the 24th of November as well as the days following to celebrate your body with a combination of these 24 yoga poses to burn off any new Thanksgiving weight!
1. Padmasana or Lotus Pose (or Sukhasana/Easy Pose)
Any seated variation of Lotus decreases blood flow to the legs and reroutes it to the stomach to aid in digestion. Hold for 5 to 10 minutes at a time, eventually working up to sitting comfortably for 30 minutes or more.
Decreases blood flow to the legs to encourage digestion as well as strengthens the spine and core. Hold each side for 5 to 10 breaths.
A powerhouse movement that not only works the glutes, back and core, but also sparks the internal flame to help fight off belly fat. Hold for 10 seconds at a time, eventually building up to a minute or two.
4. Kakasana or Crow Pose
Strengthens the abdominal muscles to promote digestion as well as overall physical, mental and spiritual balance. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds at a time, maybe playing with one foot off the ground at a time until it is comfortable to hold Kakasana for 10 full breaths.
5. Phalakasana or Plank Pose
Strengthens the muscles in the core as well as the spine to help fire up the metabolism. Hold for 10 to 30 seconds at a time working up to a full minute or two.
Improves overall balance as well as targets hard-to-reach muscles like the quadratus lumborum, which aid in overall health. A workout for the oblique muscles, Vasisthasana strengthens the core for improved digestion. Same hold times as plank.
Adding intensity to the previous variation, Side Plank with a leg lift strengthens and tones the overall body including digestive organs and abdominal muscles. Same hold times as plank.
Requires overall balance and is an intense workout for the core. Hold for 10 to 20 seconds, for an added challenge lift one leg at a time for 5 to 10 seconds.
Promotes blood flow to the brain to help aid in concentration and self-control (especially when faced with making the tough choice between one, two or three slices of pie). Hold for 5 to 10 breaths at a time.
Strengthens the core as well as increases acceptance and vulnerability to help decrease negative self-talk. Hold for 5 to 10 breaths.
11. Crescent or High Lunge with Bent Back Knee
Bending the back knee increases core activation to increase toning of the abdominal organs. Hold for 5 to 10 breaths.
12. Virabhadrasana I or Warrior 1
Improves focus, balance and stability needed to manage weight as well as improves circulation and respiration. Hold for 5 to 10 breaths.
Energizes the entire body and activates the internal abdominal organs responsible for digestion. Hold for 5 to 10 breaths.
Strengthens the abdominal muscles as well as tones the areas required for digestion. Hold for 5 to 10 breaths.
15. Vrksasana or Tree Pose
Improves balance and strengthens the core. Hold for 10 to 20 seconds until it is comfortable to hold for a minute or two.
With the belly on the floor, there is added pressure on the abdominal organs, which can relieve issues with digestion, including indigestion and constipation. Hold for 3 to 5 breaths.
17. Trikonasana or Triangle Pose
Stretches the abdominal muscles as well as activates the internal organs for digestion and elimination. Hold for 3 to 5 breaths.
Fires the core to aid in digestion. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds at a time until it is comfortable to hold for a minute.
Knees go in front of the toes, heels lift an inch or two off the ground, and the hips hover higher than the knees to intensify traditional Chair Pose. However, this pose should not be practice by anyone with prior knee injuries or people being mindful of their knees. Same hold time as traditional Chair Pose.
The bind of the legs promotes blood flow to the core to aid in digestion while at the same time the pose requires body balance and increases concentration and focus. Hold for 5 to 10 breaths.
21. Sirsasana or Headstand Pose
Defying gravity to send a rich supply of blood to the brain and digestive organs to increase overall body activation and heat for the internal flame. Hold for 5 to 10 breaths.
22. Navasana or Boat Pose
Intense core strengthener to build up abdominal strength and encourage digestion. Hold for 3 to 5 breaths.
While this posture is a bit more advanced and can take time to build up the strength and flexibility to get into, One-Legged King Pigeon promotes abdominal activity for digestion and opens the chest and heart for Thanksgiving. Hold for 3 to 5 breaths.
24. Savasana or Corpse Pose
A perfect end to any combination of asana flows or as a stand-alone posture. Among the countless benefits of Savasana, one is sleep promotion and rejuvenation of the body, mind and soul. One of the key factors to weight management is proper rest and rejuvenation.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Please feel free to add any other helpful yoga poses for weight management in the comments section below.
Image credit: Kate Swarm