Ah, the holidays. Tis’ the season to be stressed with heightened levels of anxiety and expectations. Although this year’s holiday traditions may look a lot different than years prior, you may surprisingly find yourself still overwhelmed and on the go. Enter: Yoga for stress and anxiety.
Yup—You can calm some of that holiday stress with nothing more than a yoga mat and your own body. Research has shown that yoga works as a form of moving meditation to replace stressful thoughts with feel-good brain waves, which is something many of us could really use right now. Certain poses will help to melt away tension in both your mind and body, so I’ve rounded up four of them that will infuse your holiday season with some much-needed calm.
Take a deep breath, connect, and let’s practice these flows to finish off the chaos of 2020 with some holiday cheer and inner peace.
1. Child’s Pose
Restorative poses, in general, support you in slowing down and getting quiet, and child’s pose can support you in connecting to what your body needs in the moment. Additionally, it can also help alleviate tension in the lower back. Start by taking two breaths to slow down and activate the calm responses in your body before slipping into the position, and if you need more comfort or support, try adding a soft blanket or bolster underneath your hips. Give yourself permission to rest and restore from the inside out.
2. Downward facing dog
In addition to strengthening your hands, wrists, legs, and core, transitioning into a downward-facing dog helps shift your focus. You may experience an immediate rush of blood flow to the head, which serves as a sign that the cells in your body are being replenished to increase circulation and oxygen. If you need more support, place blocks under your hands, and know that you’re always invited to come back to child’s pose when you need a moment. The key is to do what works for you and your body, and take a few moments to create heat in your body and center back on what’s important for you during this season.
3. Seated Twist
One of the best parts about yoga is that you can define what it means for you. A simple seated twist can take place in a chair, on the floor, or with your legs crossed in a lotus pose. Twists are great for cleansing the internal organs from the inside out. “Seated twists are the perfect way to release tension…from the body. When we are stressed we tighten up and don’t allow our natural energy to flow,” says renowned Yoga teacher and trainer Elizabeth Flint, who would often describe twists as “giving your body massage.” “The gentle compression and release on our muscles, organs, and spine help to get our energy flowing freely again.”
4. Tree Pose