It’s that time of the year again. Time to celebrate, party, and gorge on sweets!
Diwali is just round the corner. Excitement is in the air. And it’s a typical scenario in any festival. The same story every year – new clothes, holidays, family visits, and mouth-watering sweets and savouries to feast upon. But once the festive mood is over, tension starts mounting. The after-effects of every delicacy that you indulged in start showing up in the form of extra pounds on the body.
But what to do? It’s festival time after all and it’s hard to say 'no' to an extra laddu, kachori, or gujia (Indian delicacies). Agreed. Now you can enjoy the festive spirit to your heart’s content while keeping a check on your weight as well.
Yoga practices, which comprise asanas (body postures), pranayama (breathing techniques), and meditation, will help you stay fit and healthy this festive season. Besides, yoga philosophy teaches us to be generous. Following this principle and sharing extra food this Diwali with the underprivileged will ensure that we don’t stuff ourselves and bloat up! Practicing yoga will also make you more mindful of what you lay your hands on and how much you eat, so that you don’t over indulge and regret the day after.
Follow these simple tips this festive season to remain in good shape:
Healthy Recipe for Festive Season
Carrot Kheer (Rice Pudding with Carrot)
- Carrots - 100 gms
- Milk - 250 ml
- Rock Sugar - 1 1/2 tbsp or as per taste
- Cardamom Powder - 1 tsp
- Nutmeg Powder - 1 pinch
- Saffron - 1 pinch
- Ghee (clarified butter) - 2 tsp
- Almonds - 2-3 no.
- Pistachios (unsalted) - 4-5 no
- Wash and peel the carrots.
- Grate the carrots finely.
- In a pan, heat ghee and add carrots. Cook it for 5-10 minutes.
- Add milk and sugar.
- Add cardamom powder, nutmeg powder and saffron.
- Garnish the pudding with almonds and pistachios.
- Serve hot.
#1: Keep up with your yoga practices - This is extremely important, more so during the festive season when chances of putting on weight are higher. There's no stopping yourself from enjoying delectable recipes but let the festivity not be an excuse to postpone your yoga routine. Make sure you do a few yoga postures every morning, some pranayamas and a few minutes of meditation.
Even if you are busy with the preparations and don't have too much time, Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation) is a complete body workout and the best exercise that can be done in short time.
#2: Close your eyes – Amidst all the excitement and high spirits, take a few minutes out to close your eyes and meditate. It's easy to binge in a state of over-excitement. Meditation will not only help settle down the fervour but also increase awareness in the mind of what to eat and how much. Keeping a watch on your food may become easier.
#3: Eat smart – If you have prepared three or four different types of delicacies for the festival, make sure you cut down on other calories from your routine diet. Try and avoid tea with sugar, or reduce the amount of rice you usually have, or perhaps eat one chapatti (Indian bread) less to make up for the number of calories taken in with other treats. Basically, substitute one calorie for the other so that they don't add up to your body weight.
#4: Take a small plate – This will ensure that you don't stuff yourself. If you want to eat whatever you like, take small quantities of everything. Also, according to Ayurveda, the ideal amount of food to be consumed should just be as much as would fit both your palms held together, side by side. The cup shape that is formed is believed to be the size of your stomach! So you can now understand just how much food your stomach can actually take.
#5: Digest your food well – Good digestion is important for weight control. After a heavy meal, sit down in Vajrasana (Kneeling Pose) for a few minutes. It's extremely helpful in digestion. You can also do Pavanamuktasana (Wind-relieving pose) and a few rounds of Kapal Bhati pranayama (Skull-shining breathing technique), both on an empty stomach, to facilitate effective digestion as well as to keep a check on your weight.
#6: Drink up – Give lots and lots of water to your body. This will help settle the oily, fatty food you might have eaten and also help in easy digestion. Drinking warm lemon water or lemon tea is also a good idea to detoxify your system.
#7: Take the steps – If you are visiting friends and family during festival days, avoid using the elevator. Try and take the steps as far as possible. It's just another excuse to exercise the body. It will also help in digesting a heavy meal while keeping the weight in check.
#8: Try a new party idea – Before you hit the dance floor or start the party night, take a few minutes together with friends to meditate in a group. After about 15-20 minutes of meditation, continue with your party and see the difference! You may just enjoy much more than you would usually have! And you can also continue the Diwali party even after the festival is over! Resolve this Diwali to gift yourself a Part-I or Art of Living Yoga Course later in the year. Come to Bangalore Ashram and pamper yourself with a yoga retreat. The party would never end for you!
#9: Don't stock up extra sweets; give them away to the needy – Diwali is a time when your refrigerator would overflow with countless boxes of sweets received from relatives and friends. And we usually keep preserving them for days together, slowly munching on one box after the other, simply adding calories. Instead, why not go by the Patanjali Yoga Sutra - Aparigraha, or non-possessiveness, this Diwali? You may consider distributing extra sweets to an orphanage or underprivileged families. This will not only bring a smile on somebody's face but also prevent you from gaining extra kilos.
#10: Substitute sugar with jaggery – It is naturally sweet and will ensure that you enjoy your sweets without worrying about calories. Dates and other dry fruits and organic jaggery-based sweets are better options than sweets prepared using refined sugar.
Diwali, Christmas or Thanksgiving: all are occasions to indulge in sweets – loads and loads of them! With regular yoga practice, you can now enjoy the festive spirit without worrying about the weighing scale.
(Written by Pritika Nair based on inputs by Dr. Sejal Shah, Art of Living Yoga teacher.)