Yoga for Holiday Stress Relief

Beat Stress with Balance and Breath

Whether it is impending dysfunctional family functions or work stress piling up, stress can be banished with some simple yoga moves. Complement the following with other natural stress remedies. Drink the age-old chamomile tea or try a new calming drink with chamomile, like Marley’s Mellow Mood. Add in the scent of lavender to your home or bath, and even try Valerian root or Passion Flower before bed for a restful snooze. During the day, do the following yoga poses when stress overwhelms you:

Balasana or Child’s Pose helps quiet the “chattering monkey” in the mind. Because of its benefits for the nervous system, it is a natural for calming anxiety. On the yoga mat, sit on heels and bend over knees, reaching hands toward the front of the mat as far as possible. This should stretch the back. Now, breathe.

Uttanasana or Standing Forward Bend is generally used as a transition between other poses, but has advantages all on its own. Because this is an “inverted” pose, blood is recirculating in a different direction, it is popular to combat stress, exhaustion, and depression, too. To practice, stand upright, hands together overhead, reaching toward the ceiling. Breathe, and “dive” down toward the feet, bending at the waist, keeping the back straight, and slightly bending the knees. Hang here, letting the head and arms sway back and forth slightly if it feels good. Breathe.

Utthita Trikonasana or Extended Triangle Pose is one of the most popular postures in classes and at home. In this simple pose, the entire body is stretch, and internal organs like the stomach are massaged, thus improving stressful stomachs. To practice, stand with legs just wider than hips. The back foot should face the side wall, the front toes should point toward the front of the room (thus making almost a long-distance “L”). Arms are stretched outwards from the body making a “T”. Along the front leg, reach the same arm (if left leg is forward, use left arm) toward the ankle, stretching the opposing arm toward the ceiling. Breathe. Switch sides.

Marjaryasana or Cat Pose is also taught with Cow Pose. Getting on hands and knees, bend spine like a rainbow toward the ceiling, head dropping between the arms. To move into Cow, bring head up to face the ceiling, while the spine curves in the opposite direction. Continue this movement at your own pace, breathing in or out with each movement. This slows down the world outside and forces participants to focus on just the movement, just the breath.

This post is a courtesy of our friends from Seven Oaks teeth withening Winnipeg. They believe we should keep our minds as healthy as our bodies.