by Dana Covello of Twisted Trunk Yoga

As nature moves closer to the darkest, coldest days of the year, blankets of snow and wind beckon you to stay inside and put on your warm socks like a hibernating animal. Everything invites you to turn inside to the quiet, except… it’s DECEMBER – potentially the biggest, loudest, most frenetic social time of the year. In order to show up, stay sane, and get it all done – the flight attendants are correct – you need to put the oxygen mask on yourself first.

While it can be particularly challenging to maintain routines and keep your health a priority this time of year, here are a few simple tips for managing the holiday season.

Start your day with a glass of warm water (before coffee!). Water is a potent purifier – it will help you process any debauchery from the night before and kick-start your internal systems for the new day. Consider drinking warm water throughout the day or at the very least hold the ice. Warm water helps with digestion and will help keep things more ‘regular’ (wink wink).

Move your body. In addition to sleeping less and eating and drinking more, exercise might fall lower on your list of priorities this time of year. Rather than thinking of exercise as a separate activity that you do at the gym, think of all the ways you can add in movement throughout your day. First thing in the morning, stretch your arms overhead. Take the stairs. Walk when you can instead of driving. Squat while you wait at the post office to mail your packages. You get the picture.

Learn to sit quietly – even for a few moments a day. Meditation need not be a mystical, impossible, that’s-for-other-people aspiration, but a simple exercise in finding quiet. One technique is to count your breaths. Start by setting a timer for a manageable amount time, even a minute or two. Find a comfortable upright seat – using a chair is fine – and as you inhale say to yourself ‘one.’ On the exhale, say the phrase ‘and.’ Slowly count up to ten and then begin again. If you lose the thread of counting and find yourself working through your to-do list, start back at one again on your next breath. Connecting with your breath is a great way to begin and end the day.

Give yourself a break. Whether that means turning down some of your social engagements or using premade cookie mix, take my aunt’s advice, ‘Sometimes okay is good enough.’ Remind yourself that no one makes resolutions in December. Enjoy what the season has to offer (cookies!).

Remember what’s most important. Your time is the perfect gift. It doesn’t need a fancy wrapping, and you don’t have to worry about the price. In the midst of the hustle and bustle, listen to your friends’ stories, remember to hug your relatives, and use this time to gather in close those that you love.



For over 15 years, Dana has turned to her yoga practice in times of joy, despair, boredom, wonder, and hope. She began teaching in 2004 hoping to help others understand, appreciate, and experience their bodies in any physical condition and any emotional state. Dana spent over a decade practicing and teaching Anusara® yoga and its emphasis on the connection between body, mind, and heart continues to influence her current perspective. Her own experience with injury and healing has inspired her deep and endless exploration of anatomy. Her classes offer a refined balance of focus and space.
She is one of the founders and owners of Twisted Trunk Yoga in Soho, New York. As a life-long student, she draws upon the wisdom generously offered by the many teachers she has learned from especially John Friend, Douglas Brooks, Gil Hedley, Amy Matthews, and Brenda Villa.
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