Stay fit for the holidays: body, mind, spirit

[Continuing the East Coast Guest Posts series this week is a yoga instructor with tips on finding balance during the holidays. I don’t know about you but that’s something that most of us can use some help with during this hectic season.]

By Helen Fong, BSc, CYT

Take baby steps. My fitness routine consists of walking and yoga. Yoga is not just a physical practice, but also a lifestyle. It helps me stay mentally and spiritually fit. How? I do the following styles of yoga: Flow Yoga, Detox Flow, and Yin Yoga. Flow yoga is a somewhat vigorous style that works the heart, helps with balance, and keeps the muscles strong and lean. Detox Flow also does this, but primarily works to purify the skin, detoxify your vital organs, and naturally helps your digestive system or ‘movement’ (if you know what I mean) through a series yoga postures. Yin Yoga targets the connective tissues of the hips, pelvis, and lower spine so every part of my body gets a “workout” by combining different styles of yoga. I teach and practice all three styles.

Conrad Beach, NS

Conrad Beach, NS

With the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, we have increased demands and have to decide what we’re going to do, where we’re going to go and when we’re going to do it. This can be quite overwhelming. However, yoga and meditation can help our sanity amongst the chaos of the holiday season. As we become more aware of our bodies through yoga practice, we become more aware of our food choices. It’s okay to treat ourselves once in a while, but we must do it without self-destructive thoughts. Moderation is key.

To be internally fit and externally fit is so important. One of the best pieces of advice I received was “Poop every day!” Sounds funny, eh? Well, a properly functioning digestive system leads to an equally healthy immune system. This is especially important during cold & flu season. What goes in…must come out…at some point. Hopefully you experience this everyday. And don’t forget to “Hydrate! Hydrate! Hydrate!” Drink lots of fluids, or your pipes can become clogged and things won’t come out so easily. Good ol’ H20 is the best!

Every Monday evening, I teach a Detox Flow yoga class at a yoga studio in Halifax. I guarantee my class will get your bowels moving nicely and naturally. My students and myself can attest to it. One day after my detox flow class, a student said, “I still feel the effects in my body – lots more movement!” I was so happy.

Helen’s Top 3 Holiday Tips:

Tip #1. Wear comfortable footwear. This will make your feet and body feel like moving. Just as, if you wear uncomfortable footwear (heels for the ladies, for example) all day, it will fatigue your legs and hips, then your body tells your mind, “I don’t want to be active. Let’s just rest and recover.” Our bodies don’t want to move when it’s injured or even if it’s in pain. Yoga will also help improve your posture.

Tip #2.  Offer to be the D.D. (designated driver) at holiday parties. You can save money because many local establishments offer reduced prices (or free) non-alcoholic beverages for the D.D. You can also loose weight by dancing off the calories you gained during your multiple holiday dinners. This is what I do during the year when a friend visits from out-of-town. Your mind is clear and it feels great to know you’ve helped your friends get home safe. And as the D.D. you can make sure your friends are kept hydrated. Have them drink a bottle or two of good ol’ H20 between their holiday beverages. Encouraging them to join you for fun on the dance floor is also a way to help them stay active during the holidays.

Tip #3. Quality “Me Time.” Find an equal amount of social and “me time” for yourself. Especially during the holidays. Take a half or a full day for just yourself. Keep this consistent throughout the year no matter what. This can help you reflect on how far you’ve come on your road to a fit body, mind, and spirit.

Happy & healthy holidays!

Peace & Namaste,


Helen Fong is a 200 hours Certified Yoga Teacher in the Halifax Regional Municipality and has also worked in the health care industry for the last 9 years (in clinical research). She was born and raised in Halifax & Dartmouth. Helen enjoys living a healthy lifestyle and staying active in her community. To find out more about this eclectic lady, please visit her website today!


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