The holiday season is a very hectic time of year. Parties, gifts, travel, and food all shake up routine making it a little bit more taxing on the body and mind. The pressure to stay cheerful during the holidays can create unwanted stress and anxiety. What lies under the surface of outside decorations and forced cheer is ultimately what matters most. Choosing to stay true to oneself is the first step in maintaining health during this busy time of year.
After the celebrations are over, thoughts about the impending year begin. Staying in the moment and taking care of the body is recipe for a better year than the one possibly before.
Incorporating yoga into a person’s life can make everything a little bit more manageable. Here are 10 yoga poses for stress relief. Take them with you as the holiday season comes to a close and carry them throughout 2016.
1. Child’s Pose (Balasana)
Placing pressure on the third eye (middle of forehead) and rolling the head from side to side helps reduce headaches and migraines. Drawing the torso over the thighs is comforting and calming for the mind. Child’s pose stretches the hips, thighs, and ankles, which can soothe tension caused by stress.
2. Cat Cow (Marjaryasana/Bitilasana)
The use of breathing in this active and flowing movement helps reduce stress. Following the rhythm of the breath keeps the practitioner in the moment and calms the body down. The action of cat cow stretches the muscles of the chest, abdominal wall, and muscles running down the spinal column.
3. Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
This inversion assists with circulation as the heart is over the head. This calms the mind and relieves stress and mild depression. Downward dog also strengthens the body, aids in digestion and provides energy overall.
4. Camel Pose (Ustrasana)
Camel pose opens and stretches the entire front body including the hips. Creating space in the chest and opening the heart chakra can release stuck energy and old emotions. Stress can stem from holding back from true feelings and hanging on to the past. The hips are an area where stress can linger. Camel pose lengthens the muscles of the hips and quadriceps, which will help release this emotional hot spot.
5. Legs up the wall
This still and calming posture reverses the circulation in the body and calms the nervous system. Although this is a low impact form of an inversion, check with a doctor if experiencing high blood pressure.
6. Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)
Similar to the benefits of camel pose, this posture can help calm the mind from stress and anxiety. Bridge pose eases certain backaches and headaches while rejuvenating the entire body. Another important benefit of bridge pose is posture. Interlacing fingers underneath the body and drawing shoulder blades together awakens the heart chakra and reverses bad posture overtime. Improper poster compresses the diaphragm and causes lack of oxygen to the body. If oxygen does not flow through the body the way it is meant to, anxiety, depression, and other negative affects can occur.
7. Seated forward fold (Paschimottanasana)
This comforting posture helps reduce mild depression, anxiety, and fatigue. Seated forward fold lengthens the spine, stretches shoulders, lower back, hamstrings and assists with digestion.
8. Reclined bound angle (Supta Baddha Konasana)
Reclined bound angle helps with overall circulation, stress, anxiety, and stimulates abdominal organs. The external rotation of the hips opens tight muscles of the inner thighs. This is a desirable pose to do at the end of a long day.
9. Corpse Pose (Savasana)
The most calming part of a yoga practice is savasana. Savasana brings the body back to life again after taking in the benefits of the yoga experience. In a world where every thing is constantly moving, taking time to remain still is extremely beneficial to overall health and happiness.
10. Easy Pose (Sukhasana)
Quieting the mind and staying present while meditating in this easy pose is grounding during times of instability. Sitting with proper posture helps to strengthen the spine and muscles of the back. Choosing an easy seat while meditating keeps the body active while finding peace and tranquility.