thanksgiving, ayurveda style

Thanksgiving just might be my favorite holiday. Maybe not for the history of it, but certainly for the ritual, and what it means today. A day to get together with the most important people in your life and spend the day catching up, laughing, preparing delicious food, maybe a friendly game of football, and then sitting down to a meal. I’ve always loved the conversations that come after dinner is winding down, everyone sitting back in their chairs, full-bellied with a light wine-buzz while the younger kids laugh and play around the table. Even the years when I was away from my family on Thanksgiving and spent the day instead with a group of friends, there’s something about the ritual of the holiday that is so familiar that no matter who you are with, it feels right.

You might think that such a day filled with travel, constant stimulation, libations and lots and lots of food would be impossible to practice an Ayurvedic lifestyle on. In fact there are many small practices that can help keep this day feeling just as healthy and familiar as any other. I thought I’d share a few tips as we go about this holiday together.

  • Stick to your morning ritual, as much as possible. Whether you start your day with warm lemon water, or your self care routine, or a few minutes in meditation, or all of the above and more, as much of your daily ritual that starts your day will get you off on the right foot and feeling normal.  
  • Bring some spinal twists into your yoga or exercise routine. Twists give some extra love and stimulation to your organs of digestion, so don’t leave those out this week!
  • Go easy on the appetizers. They are yummy, I know. So just be mindful of how much you are snacking, and how close to the main meal. Being hungry when you sit down to a meal is best for proper digestion.
  • Give gratitude for your meal and the hands that prepared it. This probably goes without saying on the day when this practice is in the name, but I’ll say it anyway. Eating with a calm mind and heart full of gratitude positively affects the way we take that food in. Love every bite!
  • Don’t eat to the point of discomfort. I like to remind myself and others of this on Thanksgiving particularly. There is no rule that says we must eat “til we pop.” If this does happen, taking a few minutes to lay on your left side is an effective trick to get your food moving along a little faster and help you to feel more comfortable. You may want to be alone for this, and you’ll find out why if you try it!
  • Take an after-dinner walk. This practice has actually been part of my family’s tradition for as long as I can remember, and now we know why! Getting a little movement into the body after a meal is great for the digestive process, and is a way to energize so you don’t need to go to bed right away. Take the family on a nice little neighborhood stroll.


Try one of these, try them all. No matter what I hope you enjoy this holiday as much as I do. Spend time with the people you love, keep the conversation positive and loving, laugh as much as you can.

I wish all of you a very Happy Thanksgiving.