Find post silly season balance with food and yoga.

DO YOUR KIDS find it hard to wind down after the Christmas excitement? Do they want to play out all day long, when you want to rest and unwind? Finding the balance between play and rest can be a challenge. How do you manage excitable energy, participate in active games, calm down and soothe over-tired children and at the same time have the rest you need?

The rest our bodies need is usually due to over-indulging and the stressful build up to the end of the year. The good news is that summer is a time of abundance, and a small rest for the mind and body, including resting the digestive system by eating lighter meals, will rejuvenate you quickly. The same is true for children and teens. Introduce a moment of quiet play, an afternoon relaxation you can do together or a mindfulness exercise and children will feel instantly calmer, happier and more energised.

The organs most predominant in summer are the small intestine and heart. The small intestine likes small amounts of food and will generate a lot of energy from a little fuel. The heart loves connection, to be surrounded by friends and family, talking, having fun, laughter and hugs. It is the season of digestion and connection. It is also the time of year best suited to help heal any issues in the digestive system or related to the heart. If the small intestine is made to over-work due to heavy, rich and sugary foods and drinks, it may result in an over-stimulated brain, tight shoulders, and digestive issues. Follow these food suggestions and yoga therapy exercises to create a strong and fully functioning digestive system and an open heart.

GOOD FOODS FOR THE SMALL INTESTINE AND HEART

Our body requires bitter foods, such as long grains, seeds, ripe greens and occasionally some fruit to mildly stimulate and maintain creativity. The quality of bitter food can be obtained by dry roasting and high heat cooking such as steaming, fast boiling, grilling, fast stir frying, and deep frying (like in tempura).

FOODS TO AVOID

Avoid food that impacts the heart, such as meat, take-aways and bad quality oil. Food that will create problems in the small intestine and so are best avoided are toast, baked flour, tropical fruit, fruit juice, preservatives and chemicals.

5 YOGA POSES FOR HEALTHY DIGESTION

1. Cycling to the beach

Rest back on your hands, bend your knees and cycle your legs, one at a time. For added fun and to squeeze into each side of the intestines, cycle to the side while you imaging that you are cycling around bends on a path.

2. Fish swimming

Start in Fish Pose, keeping the chest high. Alternate one leg to the sky at a time, imagining you are paddling across the ocean.

3. Surfing

Come onto your belly, placing your hands under the shoulders. Bend your right knee out to the side, placing your right foot against the knee of your left leg. Imagine you are on your surfboard and a wave is coming. Exhale and push down with your hands to lift up your chest. Inhale lower back. Change legs and repeat on the second side.

4. Building a sandcastle

Start by sitting up with your legs extended out in front of you. Exhale and stretch forward to touch the toes, then inhale back up to sitting. Exhale, roll backwards into plough, then inhale back up to sitting. Each time you roll backwards imagine the sandcastle getting taller and taller. On the last roll back, bring your hands to your lower back and lift up into a shoulder stand to make the biggest, tallest and strongest sandcastle.

5. Sunshade

Lying on your back, bend your knees and grab hold of your ankles. Exhale and lift your hips as you put up the sunshade, then inhale as you lower back down.

5 PARTNER POSES FOR HEART-CONNECTION

1. Partner Dancers Pose

Partners stand facing one another about a meter apart. Connect one partner’s right hand with the other one’s left in the air just above shoulder height. Both partners can then take their free hand and hold  the foot on the same side. Both partners then lean forward to open their hearts as they lift the back leg higher.

2. Cat/Cow Flying

Have one partner on their hands and knees. The second partner then sits on the first partner’s lower back (facing away) and lies back. The feet should touch the floor and the arms and hands can reach over their head. The bottom partner arches their back up into cat and lowers gently into cow, while their buddy goes for a ride up and down on their back.

3. Lizard on a Rock

One partner starts in child’s pose as a rock. Their buddy then lies over their back length-ways, starting by sitting on their sacrum and lying gently backwards.

4. Partner Wheel

Start by lying on the floor getting ready to push up into a wheel. Their partner comes and stands at the shoulders and is the support. Grab your partner’s ankles and start to lift your hips off the floor. Partner brings their hands under the shoulder blades and supports their partner to lift up.

5. Walking Massage

One partner sits cross-legged and the second partner sits behind them, taking hold of their wrists and placing their feet at the other’s sacrum. The massage partner can then lean back and walk their feet up and down their partner’s back, giving them a delicious massage.

Yoga Journal: FEB/MARCH 2018 – Issue 65