Some basic Ayurvedic principles and techniques can support your digestion daily – even during holidays!
Timing matters (especially if you’re hosting)
Holiday meals can be very complex and diverse, so eating earlier (closer to 12-2pm) rather than later is ideal if possible, as digestive fire (Agni) is strongest at this time. Otherwise, aim for a dinner meal after5pm.
Don’t starve your body beforehand
It may be tempting to fast or skip meals prior to a large holiday feast, though this will actually weaken Agni. A large influx of complex foods upon a weakened digestive tract can cause a variety of imbalances, notably improper digestion and fatigue. You’ll be able to digest and assimilate your meal best if you eat wholesome meals at normal times and amounts prior to the holiday.
Do give yourself a digestive boost with yoga, ginger and lemon
Try some cat cows (Marjaryasana) in the morning or early afternoon – the abdominal stretches will help to stimulate digestion. Some warm ginger tea or warm water with lemon will also help to spike Agni and prepare you for a complex meal.
Experience the auspicious blessing of gratitude
Take time to truly savor the blessings of the holiday. Remember that energy follows intention. If a group blessing is not conducted at mealtime, you can quietly set this intention yourself by focusing your attention on your heart center, allowing the lotus of this energy center (or Chakra) to expand and blossom, radiating love and gratitude throughout your being and to those you wish to send it to.
Try to stop eating before the “full” feeling… if you can
We all tend to overindulge a bit on holidays and this is ok to do once in a while, though you are more likely to truly enjoy the holiday experience if you avoid overdoing it. It’s difficult to get into the “holiday spirit” when experiencing indigestion.
Take a reclining twist in the evening
Supta Matsyendrasana (pictured above) is a delightful, relaxing stretch for the whole body, and the gentle twist will support your digestion. Make sure to wait at least 2 hours after eating before taking this pose. You can also take this pose in the morning while in bed to awaken Agni at the start of your day.
Think twice about leftovers
Leftovers are often a much-anticipated feature of American holidays, though according to Ayurveda, stagnant (Tamasic) food that is refrigerated and frozen is considered a contributor to toxic buildup (Ama). It’s unlikely every morsel of food will be consumed, but do think twice about eating leftovers after the second day. You are likely to find the leftovers less appealing by day three and beyond – this is for a reason.
Wishing you a happy holiday season from the Kerala Ayurveda team.