It’s finally Christmas and time for stress – there is no escaping it! Whether you love them or not, the Holidays find a way to tax our bodies and minds. Spending hours on the internet or roaming the stores shopping and cooking, the constant temptation to overeat and drink, navigating the holiday parties and social events all take their toll. As hard as we may try to maintain some sense of ease during the holidays, we find ourselves often bombarded with more stress than any other time of the year. So how can you stress less and enjoy more this holiday season? Try these simple yoga poses to stretch and relax Christmas tension away.
1. Start off by sitting in the Sukhasana (Easy Pose).
2. Now, position your legs so the soles of your feet are touching each other. Your knees should be bent. Feel free to prop a rolled blanket, hand towel or yoga block on the underside of your thigh if needed.
3. Try to position your feet as close to your pubic area as possible.
4. Grasp your feet with your hands and sit up with your back as straight as possible.
5. Inhale and slowly lean forward. If possible, place inside of forearms on calves.
6. Exhale and gently press down on your calves with forearms or elbows until you feel tension or tightness. Hold for 3-4 deep breaths.
*Inhale as you transition to Seated Side Bending Pose
1. Start back in Sukhasana (Easy Pose).
2. Keep your right palm on the floor close to your right hip and fingers pointed out to the side.
3. Inhale and gently lift your left arm above your head and palm facing inward. (Be mindful that you stop where you feel tension of tightness)
4. Exhale and stretch to the right so that your right hand slides away from you. Focus on keeping your right hand and forearm pressed lightly into the floor for stability.
5. Press both the sitting bones in the floor and push the crown of the head upward to lengthen the spine. Feel the left side of your body lengthening from your hip to fingertips as you reach your left hand to the ceiling. (Be mindful that you stop where you feel tension or tightness)
6. Remain in this pose for 3-4 deep breaths.
7. Exit the pose by inhaling and lifting the torso as you slowly bring your left hand down. Then, exhale as you gently push with your right hand safely back to an upright position.
8. Inhale as you come back into Sukhasana (Easy Pose) and repeat on other side.
*Inhale as you transition to Parivrtta Janu Sirsasana (Extended leg seated side stretch)
1. Starting back in Sukhasana (Easy Pose), extend the left leg out 45 degrees. Bring the right foot in as close to your pubic area as possible. Slide the left arm over the left leg and hold onto strap or belt to help ease any tightness.
2. Inhale reach the right fingers gently up towards the ceiling, feel the right side of your body lengthening from your hip to fingertips. (Be mindful that you stop where you feel tension of tightness)
3. Allow the chest to stay open and facing forward. Keep gaze looking forward or carefully turn your chin towards your raised right arm.
4. Remain in this pose for 3-4 deep breaths.
5. To release: inhale and slowly bring right hand back down, then release the strap on left foot. Place hand under left knee and help lift leg back into Sukhasana (Easy Pose).
6. Exhale as you switch legs and repeat on other side.
*Inhale as you make final transition back to Sukhasana (Easy Pose)
Remember to breathe deeply and focus on relaxing your muscles. Repeat as many times as you like. As always, if you have any questions or if there is a specific pose you would like to see next, contact me.
Have a super PRiMEWomen Christmas and Happy Stretching!
Always work within your own range of limits and abilities.
If you have any medical concerns, talk with your doctor before practicing yoga.