Healthy Beginnings

Try these simple yoga poses if you overindulge in eating

The Knees-to-Chest yoga pose can help alleviate that sense of fullness in your belly after a large holiday meal. Photo: Shutterstock

Halloween ushers in “The Eating Holidays.” Also, it brings about the “I’m Too Busy to Exercise Season” and the “I’ve Got Too Much To Do To Sleep Blues.”

Overindulging in food and drink, while underindulging (I might have made up that word) in exercise and sleep causes us to wish the holidays were “over already!” From Halloween to Valentine’s Day, it’s the perfect storm of poor life choices meets out of control expectations.

We do it to ourselves — but, we do have the power, not only to survive the storm, but also to conquer it.

When your ship is taking on too much water and floundering on those storm-tossed seas, yoga — with its emphasis on breathing techniques, mindfulness, meditation and movement — can be your lifesaver.

Did you know that the average American will consume a hefty 3,000 calories on Thanksgiving, for dinner alone, according to the Calorie Control Council, an industry group? Further, according to the group, drinks, dessert and appetizers can bring the total calorie count to 4,500.

So, if you do indulge in a heavy meal, the Knees-to-Chest pose (lying on your back, bring both bent legs up and over the chest, allowing your natural breathing to create a subtle back and forth movement of the thighs against the chest) works wonders to alleviate that sense of fullness. Be aware — this pose is also called “Wind-Relieving Pose” … I say, just blame the dog.

If your digestion is sluggish, coupled with nervous tension, use the breathing technique commonly known as “Soft Belly Breathing.” This aids in digestion while calming your nerves. While breathing in and out through the nose, simply allow the low belly to expand (no forcing, simply allow) on the inhalation and relax on the exhalation. This breathing technique can also relieve tension in the low back.

Are you missing your daily exercise routine, yet too tired to actually do much? Restorative yoga may be just what you need. This gentle stretching class is done with props (cushions, blankets, blocks, eye-covering towels) to assist in releasing tight muscles and connective tissue, while allowing deep rest so you can get a good night’s sleep. Sometimes we yoga teachers actually have to wake you up to send you home!

Only have time for one hour of exercise this week and want to make the most of it? Try Buti Yoga. Buti is a Sanskrit word meaning to uncover the cure within. This fun infusion of yoga, tribal dance and jump training allows you to make the most of your one exercise hour through interval training, stretching and, of course, rest and meditation at the end. You’ll feel energized, happy and ready for the rest of your busy week!

And, don’t forget meditation. Even one minute of meditation can help calm and refresh you at this busy time of year. Try simply sitting in your car for one minute at the end of your workday before entering your home, with your eyes closed and focusing on your breath.

You can sail through this season easily and joyfully with the lifesaving techniques of yoga!

Reverend Dr. Kathaleen Martin-Midcalf is the founder and master teacher at The Yoga Pearl in Sparks, Nevada. For more information, call 775-750-7610 or visit