5 Yoga Poses For Holiday Stress To Help You Relax & Unwind When Chaos Is Consuming You
As wonderful as the holidays are, they can also be a pretty stressful time of year, to say the least. Between gift shopping, gift giving, and seeing family you may or may not be super fond of, the most wonderful time of the year can also sometimes be the busiest. Having said that, it's important to give yourself space to breathe and relax, and a regular yoga practice could be exactly what you need during those especially chaotic moments. Ahead of the festivities, consider learning some yoga poses for holiday stress to help you tune into your body and its needs — after all, you can't pour from an empty glass, right?
The thing about yoga is that it works. Yoga means union, says Beth Shaw, CEO and founder of YogaFit, and rolling out your mat during the holidays can help bring together the body and the mind to establish a sense of comfort and serenity. "Practicing yoga gives you peace," Shaw explains. "And we all need more peace now." Amen, girl.
"If you are feeling tense, worried, down, restless, and having trouble concentrating, then you will benefit from starting and keeping a yoga practice," the teacher tells Elite Daily over email. "Yoga poses (or asanas, in Sanskrit) help release tension and stress from the body by regulating hormones and increasing endorphins."
Here are five of Shaw's go-to yoga poses to combat holiday chaos and ground you when you need it most.
Begin in mountain pose, standing straight with your feet shoulder-width apart. Relax your shoulders, and be mindful to keep your head in line with your spine. "From mountain pose, inhale and sweep your arms up," Shaw explains. "On your exhale, bend your knees and swan dive into forward fold."
Staying with the breath, take a deep inhale and step your right foot back into a lunge, left knee over left ankle. As you exhale, step your left foot back into downward facing dog. Finding strength within, inhale into a plank pose, keeping your core strong and your back straight, before you shift forward onto your toes and lower into chaturanga (aka a yogi-style push-up)
Continue this same flow, says Shaw: "Inhale, pulling forward from the core, and come on to the tops of your feet for upward facing dog. Exhale into downward dog. Inhaling, step your right foot forward into lunge. Exhaling, step your left foot forward into forward fold," the teacher explains.
Finish by inhaling and bending your knees, circle-sweeping your arms up into another mountain pose. Exhale and sit back into chair pose.
Repeat the sequence on the other side of your body, says Shaw, to maintain balance, equilibrium, and a clear mind.
To guide your body into camel pose, Shaw suggests moving slowly, feeling your way into the deep and heart-expanding asana.
"From a kneeling position, place your hands or fists on the bony points alongside your spine," the teacher explains. "Firm your glutes, and push your hips forward. Lift your chest to the sky."
Try to focus on lifting out of your lower back, drawing your elbows back to expand your chest. If it feels good for you, Shaw suggests looking up toward the sky without dropping your head back. "As you get out of the pose, go into child’s pose, and rest," she recommends.
If you have any lower back issues or injuries, Shaw says it's best to be cautious and slow when getting into this asana. "Use chest expansion from the knees, if necessary," she tells Elite Daily. "If your neck fatigues, look forward and tuck your chin slightly, and for sensitive knees or another knee issue, use padding."
Come down to the the floor, on your belly, and prepare for bow pose — another revitalizing asana, says Shaw. "Bend your knees and grab onto your ankles behind you," she explains. "Slowly lift your chest and legs off the floor [while] squeezing your glutes to protect your low back."
Hold for 10 deeps breaths, Shaw says, and repeat two more times if that feels good for your body.
Accentuate all of your blissful back-bending with a sweet and subtle chest-opener. "From a standing position, bring your arms behind your back and interlace the fingers," says Shaw. "Draw arms away from the body, and at the same time, draw shoulders down and back."
Imagine your heart center is opening up nice and wide, and breathe deeply into every single space in your lungs. Activate your back muscles, Shaw suggests, and close your eyes.
"Hold this for 10 deep breaths, and make sure to exhale fully [throughout]. Repeat several times throughout the day," she says.
"At the end of the yoga posture session, lie down [and] give your mind and body a few minutes of thorough relaxation," Shaw tells Elite Daily.
Savasana is almost always the final resting pose in any yoga sequence, and it's crucial here to give yourself time to rest and recalibrate.
When you're ready, slowly rise up and tackle the rest of your day — you've got this.