Melt Away Your Holiday Stress with Yoga

Author: Ashley Hames, Personal Trainer & Yoga Instructor

The holiday season is an exciting and fun time as we meet up with family and friends.  On the flip side, it can be stressful as we travel and worry about seeing our craziest family member.  In order to keep your sanity this holiday season consider turning to yoga. Yoga can help the mind-body-spirit release anxiety, fears, and worries.

Below are 4 yoga poses that stimulate your parasympathetic nervous system (PNS). This system is responsible for conserving energy and reducing heart rate. Even at your most stressful events these postures can help slow the mind to help give you more clarity and ease.

  1. Child’s pose

Child's pose

As you’re seated start by taking your knees wider than your hips and begin to reach your arms forward onto your mat. Bring your big toes to touch as your chest drops in between your thighs. You can roll your head side to side on your mat to massage your temples and release more tension. Take 10 slow, deep breaths.

  1. Butterfly

butterfly pose

Seated on your sit bones, start by bringing the soles of your feet together and allow your knees to drop out to the side. Your legs will make a diamond shape. Breathe space into your inner thighs as your knees release and relax closer to the ground. Deepen this posture by reaching your hands towards the top of the mat. Breathe for 10 slow breaths.

  1. Cat/Cow Pose

Cat Cow pose

Start on your hands and knees in a table top position. Feel the stacking sensation of the shoulders over wrist and hips over your knees. On your exhale press your hands and shins into the ground and round your spine like a scared cat. Squeeze your abdominals down and in as you tuck your chin to your chest. Slowly transition into cow pose on your inhale by dipping your belly towards the ground. At the same time, lift your head and tailbone towards the ceiling. Repeat 5 times.

  1. Standing Forward Fold

Standing forward fold

Begin the pose standing with feet hips width distance apart. Leading with the crown of your head, hinge at your hips, keep your knees slightly bent, and fold. As you fold, be sure to contract your abdominals to keep your balance. In your fold, shake and nod your head to relax your neck and upper back. Let the arms hang heavy towards the ground. Breathe 10 long, slow, deep inhales and exhales. As you finish your breaths, engage your core and slowly roll up one vertebra at a time. Your head will be the last to stack.