Healthy Holidays Through Movement

Choose from a range of challenging to simple movement practices amidst our hectic schedules and indulgent get-togethers this holiday season to kickstart a sustainable practice that we can carry on to 2024 and beyond.

The holiday season is well upon us and with all the gatherings with those dear to us, it’s hard to say no to late nights and indulgent meals, sometimes even sacrificing our fitness routines to accommodate multiple invitations.

Because this busiest time of the year may seem like the most difficult season to begin or maintain a physical fitness regimen, Lifestyle Asia turned to the experts for some advice.

READ ALSO: Healing Rituals: Wellness Practices From Around The World

Hot Yoga – For those looking for a simple but challenging practice

Vida Yoga partner and head teacher/instructor Ginger Serrano’s introduction to hot yoga began in 2005. Within a few difficult classes, she knew right away that it would be her path. She spent a lot of years as a pre-school teacher knowing that it wasn’t a permanent thing for her. She was constantly asking herself, “Where do I really want to go? What do I really want to be?” She just had no idea at the time.

Ginger’s classes are “a mixture of rigid discipline and gentle encouragement” / Photo via Vida Yoga website

Ginger narrates, “But right when I took my first few classes I knew right away this is my path. I wanted to become a hot yoga teacher, I wanted to have my own studio in Alabang. All of a sudden everything was so clear to me that if I was going to be teaching anyway, I wanted to teach something that would be truly life-changing in the way that I saw and experienced my life change because of a simple hot yoga class, a simple but challenging hot yoga class.”

So after one and a half years of regular practice, she decided she was ready to go to teacher training in Hawaii in 2007. Ginger intimates, “It was a rigorous training of nine weeks and it was very character building. We would be packed like sardines, all 300 of us in a heated room practicing for 90 minutes or more each time. Twice a day every day for nine weeks. I made lifelong friends there and it’s one of the best experiences of my life.”

Ginger shares, “One thing that the pandemic has made me realize is that the reason why I went to teaching training to begin with and the reason why I wanted to put up my own studios to begin with is because I love teaching. I love being a teacher and watching my students grow and seeing how my craft can somehow contribute in changing lives for the better. 

And so fast forward to today as a partner and teacher in Vida Yoga, I’ve fallen in love with teaching once again. I want to teach the best that I possibly can, arming myself with the experience that I’ve had for more than 15 years of being a yoga teacher and just my experience of practicing.”

Ginger aims for her students to have “an overall sense of wellness, control, and empowerment” / Photo via Instagram @vidayogaph

According to Ginger, the benefits of hot yoga are plenty! Some of these benefits are:

Improves flexibility (which decreases chances of injury)

Burns more calories than traditional/non-heated yoga

Builds bone density (while supporting your own body weight especially for middle aged men and women)

Stress management

Improves sleep

Develops muscle tone

Balances hormones

Improves breathing by increasing lung capacity

Strengthens immune system

Builds endurance and cardiovascular capacity

Increases circulation

To sum it all up, Ginger says that hot yoga “ensures healthy and balanced functioning of the skeletal, muscular, circulatory, nervous, digestive elimination, respiratory, endocrine, and mental systems of the body.”

Starting tomorrow December 10 until December 17, Vida Yoga is holding the 7 Day Hot Yoga Challenge. When asked why she’s so excited about it, Ginger says, “How many times have we complained about how hectic and stressful the holidays are for us? How many times have we fallen sick the minute the season is over? This is precisely the reason why I recommend joining the 7 Day Challenge in the middle of the Christmas rush. Yes, it will be extra challenging to prioritize fitness and health when there are invites and parties left and right, but it would be so beneficial for our body, mind, and spirit to take a pause and prioritize our wellbeing for a change. Life is all about balance, after all. It can be done.”

Ginger also emphasizes that “the goal is always sustainability,” saying that the first to get pushed aside when schedules get hectic is fitness. In conclusion, she shares, “Our hope is that by being able to commit and finish this challenge during the busiest and most festive time of the year, we will be able to break away from the norm–and prove to ourselves that our wellbeing can be top priority no matter the season. Health is wealth, after all.”

To learn more about Vida Yoga’s 7 Day Challenge, visit @vidayogaph or @vidawellnessph on Instagram or send an inquiry to WhatsApp 0918 826 2632.

Vida Yoga was founded by Amanda Griffin Jacob and Karmela Oreta. The two branches are located in BGC and Alabang offering hot yoga classes like Hot 26, Hot Express, Hot Vinyasa, Hot Hatha, Hot Yin, Hot Hybrid, and Inferno Hot Pilates. Non-heated yoga classes are also offered such as Vinyasa, Hatha, Yin, Mat Pilates, Ashtanga, as well as Kundalini and Gong Relaxation.

Vida Yoga founders Karmela Oreta (left) and Amanda Griffin Jacob (right) with internationally renowned yogi and teacher Copper Crow / Photo via Instagram @amandagriffin_j

READ ALSO: Raising Awareness: Lifestyle Asia Launched Its March Issue By Highlighting Cover Girl Amanda Griffin Jacob’s Advocacy

Movement and self-awareness

Ea Torrado is a contemporary dancer, performance artist, dance as a healing practice practitioner and facilitator. Her background is in ballet, contemporary dance, and physical theater. She runs a contemporary dance group based in Manila called Daloy Dance Company. Ea adds, “Out of that she formed along with other Thespians, creatives, artists, dancers, choreographers a movement practice that promotes somatic based movement and dancing that could be freeing and liberating and even healing and that is called Daloy Movement.” Daloy is the Tagalog word for “flow.” 

Ea Torrado is a contemporary dancer, performance artist, dance as a healing practice practitioner and facilitator

In terms of benefits of dance and movement, Ea shares that there is a lot” “Particularly for the kind of dance and movement that I advocate, that is not merely dancing to become a technically good dancer or performer, but rather making dance accessible to all people and people from all walks of life feeling comfortable in their bodies, at home in their bodies, trusting their bodies and trusting the wisdom of their bodies.”

She shares that some of these benefits are: 

Mental clarity. We get rid of over thinking and over worrying because we get out of our heads and we get more into our bodies when we do practices such as these.

Emotional release. Sometimes we carry a lot of emotions from events and situations when life happens or certain conversations we have. We can definitely use dance and movement to release those emotions in a really healthy way. And even understand those emotions as we meet them in and through our day.

Self-discovery. It’s really good for self-discovery noticing where in our bodies do we keep our traumas, where in our bodies do we get triggered, how we also digest or process stress. We just become more self-aware and therefore we discover more and helpful things about our bodies and also re-discover a better relationship with our bodies. Specially in this day and age, we grew up in a society that leads us to feeling that our bodies are not good enough,or not fit enough, or not fair-skinned enough or whatever it is from all these beauty standards. Our body keeps score of the times we were bullied or the times we did not feel safe in our environment or our bodies. So this just helps us come back to safety and centeredness.

Ea introduces the Daloy Movement practice to Taiwanese and Filipino dancers in Taiwan / Photo via Instagram @dyosa.eatorrado

Spiritual health. Dance and movement can help with a person’s spiritual health. I don’t think this is talked about a lot because when we think about spirituality we mostly think in terms of religion or prayer. I really believe that through dancing and movement, we come back to a sense of play, a sense of curiosity, a sense of safety that we connect with a spiritedness or a spirit that is inside of us. And of course dance is something that we could do or add to any religious practice or belief that we may have. It’s just this cool way of finding out about this spiritedness that is within us and it’s healthy for us. It can drive our small or big decisions in a way that we’re clear and we feel good about it and we’re very very intuitive.

Simple and fun movements for everyday wellness

Ea agrees, “Incorporating movement into a busy schedule can be challenging, especially during the holiday season.” Lifestyle Asia asked her for some simple movement practices that can be sustainable in the long-term which we can carry over to 2024 and beyond.

Here are Ea’s recommendations:

Walking. Take short walks whenever possible–after meals, during breaks, or incorporate  it into your commute.

Stretching. Schedule short stretching breaks and sessions throughout the day to alleviate tension and improve flexibility.

Stair Climbing. Opt for stairs instead of elevators whenever feasible–it’s a quick way to get your heart rate up

Shaking. Shaking can be an effective way to release stress and tension from the body. It’s a simple and natural movement that can help to loosen muscles, increase circulation, and reduce feelings of stress or anxiety. You can do this by simply shaking out your limbs, starting from your hands, arms, legs, and gradually moving through the body. Imagine shaking off any tension or stress with each movement. It’s a quick and easy practive that can be done anywhere and at any time during the day.

Ea shares: “Watching play, rest, and dance unfold naturally was a truly gratifying experience. I’m thankful for the opportunities to facilitate such transformative movement workshops through Daloy Movement.” / Photo via Instagram @dyosa.eatorrado

Tapping. Also known as Emotional Freedom Technique, EFT or tapping therapy is a practice that involves tapping on specific points on the body, typically with fingers, to alleviate stress, anxiety, or negative emotions. This technique is believed to help balance energy and reduce the body’s stress response. By tapping on these specific points while focusing on the isse causing stress, it’s thought to release tension and promote relaxation. It’s a convenient practice that can be done discreetly in various settings to help manage stress levels.

Dance. Dance breaks are a fantastic way to inject fun and movement into your day. Putting on your favorite music and having spontaneous dance sessions, even if they’re just a few minutes long, can lift your mood, increase energy, and reduce stress. Plus, it’s an enjoyable way to get your body moving without feeling like a structured exercise routine, Whether it’s in the kitchen or while cooking, during a work break, or just because you feel like it, dancing is a great way to add movement and joy to your day.

Facebook banner photo via Pexels by Elina Fairytale. Website featured photo via Pexels by Elina Fairytale.

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