Happy New Year, friends! Are we not excited about the beginning of the year and our New Year resolutions to lead a healthy lifestyle? How about giving ourselves the permission to truly relax in our own backyard this year?
We have read about Yogis discussing about their truly transformative experiences and benefits from a Yoga Retreat. But let me be honest. Yoga Retreats are expensive. As much as we would like to attend those well-organized Yoga workshops in exotic locations far away from our world, it is not always possible.
How about organizing our own customized Relax Yoga Day for ourselves behind our own front door this year? Yes, it is possible, and it is absolutely simple and fun.
More important, it is free!
There are some challenges though.
Challenge 1: Can you give yourself a break for a day?
We are so engrossed in our day-to-day mundane work; we do not even have the luxury to give one day of our life to ourselves. That is the biggest tragedy of our life.
Why don’t we change that this year? Challenge yourself to devote ONE DAY of your life to yourself. If you have children, ask someone to take care of them for a day; if you work on weekends, tell your boss you need some time for yourself. Whatever it is, make an effort to choose a day for yourself, and be fully prepared for your Relax Yoga Day.
I chose the first Sunday of 2016 as my “Relax Day” a month ago and started planning accordingly.
Any day is good- key is to ensure that you devote your whole day on the mat without any disturbance and distraction.
Challenge 2: Can you give up carbs for a day?
As simple as it sounds, giving up carbs is not an easy task specially if you are habit driven or an emotional or comfort eater. Remember, this is the day you are planning to cleanse your body, and thus allow yourself to eat detoxing cleanse foods only.
Many Yoga teachers have suggested several Meal Plans as you can find them online. I have a very simple rule. On this day, I try to stay away from oil cooked foods; processed foods; fatty, salty and sugary salt foods; caffeine and dairy products; and meat. I try to stick to fruit and raw (or boiled) vegetable diet. Many times, I include boiled potatoes as my energy booster.
Whatever it is, choice is all yours. Just be mindful that you want to eat more fruit and vegetables, drink more water and cut down on processed foods, junk foods, caffeine and alcohol on this day.
Challenge 3: Can you pick up some Yoga videos to follow?
If you are not a member of one of those Online Yoga classes, you can still find zillions of free Yoga videos online.
I recommend that you choose ‘Yoga for beginners’ videos even if you are not new to Yoga (not fat-burning Yoga classes). I am a big fan of Yoga videos from Esther Ekhart and thus I am suggesting some of her videos in this blog (in fact, I learnt about home-based Yoga Retreat from her website only). Nevertheless, I suggest you explore and choose those videos that you are comfortable with.
Now all set..? Here we go with our plan
Start your morning with Meditation and Pranayama. I generally start at 8 am and give 30 minutes for meditation and 30 minutes for Pranayama
8:00-8:30 AM: Meditation
8:30-9:00 AM: Pranayama
Tips for meditation: If you are new to meditation, or if your mind struggles to remain calm, I suggest you listen to music to distract yourself from thinking. Any music is good as long as you are enjoying listening to it, and your mind is not wandering around.
8:00-9:00 AM: Breakfast
Some teachers suggest any fruit smoothie using rice or soy milk. We are trying to stay away from dairy products, bread, eggs, meat etc. It is absolutely your choice. Whatever you decide, choose something healthy and light meal (as we have to go for one more round of Yoga class in 2-3 hours)
12:00 pm- 1:30pm: 1.5 hours of light Yoga for beginners.
There are different types of Yoga out there. I generally choose Hatha or Vinyasa Yoga for beginners.
Most of You Tube Hatha Yoga videos get you a gentle introduction to the most basic yoga postures. In case, if you want to challenge yourself, you can go for Vinyasa or Iyengar Classes. Whatever you choose, remember it is a 1.5 hour of Yoga class, and your goal is to complete the class (not to get burnt out in between).
Again- it is your choice. Stick to our rule about food. I generally go for fruit diet – lots of water melon, papaya, mango, apple, and so on.
4:30 – 5:30 pm: Yin Yoga or Restorative Yoga
Yin yoga is an amazing way to relax and soothe frayed nerves. Here is an example from Esther Ekhart’s video collection
If you are tired of Fruit Diet, you can pick some vegetables as well. I mix boiled broccoli, carrots, peas etc. If I need some energy due to long hours on the mat, I take boiled potatoes as well. Once again, it is all your choice as long as you stick to our Food Rule.
Relax Yoga Day is the day you are devoting to yourself, hence, try to stay away from computer, tablet, TV, phone and everything else that you are addicted to. This is the day to be “digitally detached”. I call it detox from all devices.
So friends, try organizing such a Day for yourself. I just did it yesterday, and it was extremely empowering to be able to cleanse my mind, my body and my soul. More important, I felt good that I was able to take time for myself. If I can do it, you can definitely do it.
After all, it is all about “devoting” one day to relaxing and pampering yourself at home.
Do it because you deserve it!