Here, six yoga techniques to help you stave off that pesky holiday stress.
If this is the most wonderful time of the year, why do we all feel so stressed out? We should be enjoying time with loved ones, dressing up and attending fun parties, and celebrating the holidays with great food and drinks. Unfortunately the stark reality is frustration in the mall parking lot, long lineups at the cash register, tense family reunions, deep grief over loved ones who are no longer with us, unrealistic gift-giving expectations and financial pressures, awkward office parties, and delicious temptations everywhere, enticing us away from any good habits we’ve developed.
But it doesn’t have to be that way! Come into the present moment and hear these tidings of comfort and joy!
Yoga Is Great For Holiday Stress
A healing restorative yoga practice helps bring us into the present moment awareness of our breath, getting us out of the head and into the body, where we can give the busy mind a rest. We move gently within our comfortable range of motion, releasing physical tension, and improving circulation. We observe the breath carefully and move our body as though our breath is the catalyst for movement. This gentle approach can prevent holiday stress from building up, and it can also help us deal with the stressors that are already getting us worked up!
1. Sun Breaths
These simple movements open up the heart and release tension out of the shoulders and arms. As we age, the upper body becomes tight and uncomfortable, especially during more stressful times, when we feel the world’s weight on our shoulders! The deep breathing and arm movements of Sun Breaths keep our blood and lymph flowing in the upper body and brain, and our breathing becomes deeper and more satisfying.
2. Half Sun Salutes
Adding the forward bend to the Sun Breath, the Sun Salutes help us turn things upside down, improving circulation into the neck and head. We’re also releasing the low back, where many of us feel a lot of stress and emotional tension. The hamstrings and backs of the legs are also stretched out and this creates so much ease of movement after sitting for prolonged periods. Using the breath to guide the movement, and going very slowing is especially effective. Tip: Be gentle when moving into the forward fold by bending the knees and laying the belly on the thighs. This keeps the hamstrings safe from tearing.
3. Vitruvian Arm Variations