December can be an extremely stressful month. Christmas and the end of the year is upon us, and there’s just so much that needs to be done.
We’re rushing around trying to find the perfect gifts, sorting out travel plans, organizing the family get togethers, finding an outfit for Christmas dinner, cleaning the house. And we’ve got to figure out our New Years Eve party plans too, and another outfit for that.
Oh, and on top of that we’ve got to hold down our full time jobs and tackle our regular day to day chores and tasks.
Just writing that kind of exhausted me, so I can only imagine how you feel.
In times (or months) like these, it’s so important to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. What is really important? What is it you actually want to do? If cleaning is just an added stress then scratch that task off your list – yes, without actually doing it! Consider this your permission slip (besides, December is such a dark month so nobody will notice those dust bunnies anyway).
Whenever you’re feeling particularly overwhelmed this month – whether it’s after a gruelling shopping trip, or after Christmas dinner with your thunderous relatives – sneak off, grab your yoga mat, and do these 5 soothing yoga poses to tackle Holiday stress. Guaranteed to bring that zen back into your life.
5 Soothing Yoga Poses to Tackle Holiday Stress
1. Easy Pose (Sukhasana)
Sit with your legs crossed. Rest your hands in your lap or on your thighs, keep your back straight and allow your shoulder blades to melt down your back. Imagine a string pulling you up by the top of the head, lengthening your back and neck. Breathe.
2. Childs Pose (Balasana)
Sitting on your knees, slowly bend forward and lower your forehead to the floor in front of you. Keep grounding your hips to your heels. Allow your arms to come down along your sides and place your hands on your heels, palm facing the bottom of your feet.
3. Reclining bound angle pose (Supta Baddha Konasana)
Sitting with your legs straight out in front of you. Bend your knees, allowing them to come out to the sides while pulling your heels towards your pelvis, the soles of your feet touching each other. Breathe in, and as you exhale, lower your back all the way to the floor (use your hands, and then forearms to lead you). Place your arms along your sides, palms up.
4. Lying Abdominal Twist (Supta Matsyendrasana)
Start by lying on your back, legs straight. Bend your right knee bringing your right foot right next to or on your left knee. Place your left hand on your right knee and then slowly twist your pelvis and back to the left, placing your right knee on the floor (if you can). Keep your right arm stretched out to your right and your right shoulder pressing down on the floor. Turn your head to look to the right in the direction of your right arm. Repeat on the left side.
5. Pigeon Pose (Adho Mukha Kapotasana)
From downward facing dog, lift your right leg and bring it forward towards your right arm. Lower your right thigh and shin to the mat while keeping your left leg straight and your left thigh on the mat. Inhale, and as you exhale, slowly fold forwards over your right leg. Place your arms out in front of you. Repeat on the other side.
Tip: Place a blanket or pillow just under the hip of the leg you’re folded over (in the example explained above you’d put it just under your right hip). This will help you lift your hips and align them to the same level.
And always end with Savasana
Lie on your back, spine lengthened and shoulders pressing to your mat. Allow your legs to come out to the sides, toes pointing out. Place your arms out along your sides, palms facing up. Close your eyes and let your breath flow naturally.
Try to calm your mind. This is your time, the past doesn’t matter, nor does the future. The only thing that is real is right here in this moment. Just let whatever thoughts you have float by without giving them any attention.