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Move from Stress to Stillness

Three Easy Ways to Integrate Peace Into Your Life This Holiday Season + Five Yoga Poses To Practice

Are you feeling it yet? The down slope into holiday madness strikes, generally, the day after Thanksgiving and we get to be the recipient of a most unwelcome gift: stress.relaxdestresswithyoga

It really is the gift that keeps on giving and is a tremendous problem in our culture that pulls double duty during the yuletide season. Stress is, unequivocally, the MOST detrimental thing to our overall health and wellness. It’s been linked to high blood pressure, heart disease, cancer, lower immune function and a plethora of lesser and more well-known diseases and ailments.

Lucky for us, there’s yoga. Or as I like to call it….yogaaaaaaah. 🙂  There are specific yoga techniques you can employ to fight stress.

1. Breathe

It’s one of the most basic and effect tools you can use. When we get into stressful situations, we very often hold our breath. It’s a natural physiological response. So…remember to breathe! Practice a breathing technique from yoga like the three-part breathe or my favorite Kriya Yoga Breath Meditation (listed below). Allow your breath to be your single focus for a couple of minutes. Even just focusing on your breath for this short amount of time will slow your heart rate and leave you feeling refreshed and clear. Best of all, you can practice this literally anywhere!

Pranayama (deep yogic breathing): Kriya Yoga Breathing Technique

  • Feel yourself connect through the soles of your feet if you are standing or sitting in a chair.
  • Find a long spine stacking shoulders over the hips allowing the chin to be parallel to the floor.
  • Imagine your breath is a pool at the base of your spine. As you inhale, pull the breath in a cool stream up the back of the body, between the shoulder blades, the back of the neck and end at the space just above a between your eyebrows.
  • Pause briefly.
  • Exhale out warm breath like a waterfall down the front of the throat, the heart, the belly back into the base of the spine.
  • Pause briefly.
  • Begin again pulling the breath up the back of the body as if it was a cool stream, pausing, exhaling warm air down the front of the body, pausing, etc, etc, etc….repeat 4 more times for a total of 5.

This quick pranayama will pull you back into your body, back into a little peace and leave you feeling very balanced and refreshed.

2. Move Your Body

In yoga there is a saying about the “issues in the tissues,” meaning we hold tension, stress and anxiety in our bodies. Notice how you might clench your jaw when you are angry or after a particularly stressful shopping experience your neck and shoulders are grippy and tight. Take time to move all that out by lengthening and strengthening the body. Yoga (and pilates and massage) are super effective at targeting those places where we grip so we can let go of all that stress.

Here are 5 Yoga Poses You Can Use To De Stress and Decompress

  • Anjali Mudra (Salutation Seal) – Practicing Anjali Mudra in easy sitting pose (Sukhasana) is an excellent way to tap into a meditative state of awareness.

Anjali Mudra in Sukhasana

  • Bitilasana (Cow Pose) – Easy, gentle warming of the spine
  • Marjaryasana (Cat Pose) – Massages the spine and organs in the belly region
Neutral Spine, Cow Pose, Cat Pose

Neutral Spine, Cow Pose, Cat Pose

  • Utthita Trikonasana (Triangle Pose) – Relieves anxiety helps you feel grounded
Trikonasana - Triangle Pose

Bound Triangle Pose – To practice with no bind, reach your top arm to the sky and bottom arm toward the floor or block. Aim to stack your wrists and shoulders in a single line.

  • Viparita Karani (Legs Up the Wall Pose) – Restorative to the whole body, promotes restful sleep, relieves tired, cramped legs and calm the mind.
Legs Up the Wall Pose

Legs Up the Wall Pose

Practicing yoga helps us find the ease, or sukha, in the present moment so that we can truly (and happily) kiss stress goodbye and enjoy each and every second we get to spend with our family and friends.

3. Be Mindful

In yoga theory, we talk about mindfulness…a lot. But really when we break it down and use it to deal with holiday stress, it’s not only effective but simple to implement.

  • Be mindful and aware of what your triggers are for stress during the holidays. We all tend to be on overdrive.
  • Don’t purposefully put yourself in situations that you know wreak havoc on you and your body. Think about what you are putting into your body as much as the situations and events you attend.
  • Take time to notice the true meaning of the season, the part that is meaningful and important to you and your family, and stick with that.

As always, if you found these tips helpful, please share! And don’t forget to connect up down below in the comment section and let me know how you used these tips or if you have your own tools that work for you during the holidays.

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