Recently a student asked me if I was planning to teach poses to counteract overeating during the holidays. My response was that yoga in general will naturally prevent one from overeating because yoga encourages a more mindful eating process! I read once in a book by Pattabhi Jois that yogis need not fill the stomach more than ¾ full. This simple guideline resonates with me as it does not encourage a pattern of restricting or bingeing particular foods; nor does it label any foods as good or bad; pure or impure. Instead we simply realize when to stop eating to avoid being overstuffed.

It’s possible to become more conscious of habitual patterns within our body and mind through self-observation in posture practice. This observation skill is then useful in observing what and how much nourishment we consume, and how we feel afterwards.

It may benefit you to practice yoga prior to a big holiday meal. You will emerge more conscious of how much and of what is being consumed. I offer the intention to eat and drink whatever you want during the holidays; and see how it feels to stop when ¾ of the way full. A brief meditation and simple posture sequence will work well to relax and center you for holiday celebrations!


  • 3 MINUTES OF NOTHING – sit (preferable) or lay for 3-5 minutes in a comfortable, silent space. Notice your breath and how you feel. Do nothing else but stay still and breathe.
  • CHILD’S POSE – on all fours, press hips back toward heels and lay with forehead on floor or a blanket. Keep knees together if possible to encourage gentle compression of belly. Inhale to press belly in to thighs, exhale to relax more each time. 3-5 breaths. This pose is also great for digestion after eating!
  • CAT / COW – on all fours, inhale to arch spine and gently look up; exhale to round spine and lift low belly up to generate internal heat. This will stimulate the digestive process. Move with breath for 1-2 minutes and consider the same movement with reversed breath.
  • WARRIOR II RIGHT SIDE – stand and take warrior II pose (right knee bent over heel, right knee open toward pinkie toe; left leg strong and extended. Arms outstretched in T shape, palms facing floor) Hold 3-5 breaths; focus on the ¾ of the way full intention.
  • WIDE LEGGED FORWARD FOLD – after right side warrior II; turn right foot in, right heel out to stand with legs 3-4 feet apart. Press feet evenly on floor and fold forward, lengthening torso between your legs. Bring hands to floor or shins/blocks. Inhale loving energy toward self/exhale thoughts of “good or bad” eating.
  • WARRIOR II LEFT SIDE – repeat #3 with left foot bent by turning left toes toward back edge of mat.
  • SEATED BOUND ANGLE POSE – come to sit and take soles of feet together with knees splayed open. Fold forward allowing spine to drape naturally and relax 3-5 breaths. Consider a folded blanket beneath your seat. Notice how hungry you are or aren’t in that moment.
  • BRIDGE POSE – lay on back with knees bent, feet flat on floor. Press feet down and lift hips and pelvis off floor. Lift chest toward chin. Arms lay by the sides, palms face up. Bring mouth to a smile and remind yourself to trust your own heart.
  • GENTLE SUPINE TWIST EACH SIDE – from bridge pose lower your back to floor. Open arms out to a T shape. Bring both knees and feet to the right and turn head to left. Hold 3-5 breaths and then repeat opposite side. To balance post-twisting; hug legs toward chest after and rock side to side. Consider gently contracting the lower belly during your exhale to encourage healthy colon movements.
  • SAVASANA – lay outstretched for 3-5 minutes and relax!
    Be kind to yourself during the holidays!

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