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Surviving Christmas

The Holidays & Christmas can be a crazy time.

Here are 10 yoga practices that can help beat the silly season stress.

1) 5 Tibetans Rites: If you are feeling anxious and your nervous system is on high alert, get rid of your excess energy with some repetitions of these energizing back arches. This could easily be modified to a Sun A.

2) Wide Leg Standing Forward Fold: When we are stressed and anxious we tend to hold it in our back, neck and shoulder muscles. This pose releases tension in your back, neck and shoulders and gives a nice stretch to your legs. Meanwhile the head is lower than the heart which tends to slow the heart rate and calm the nervous system.

3) Viparita Karani (Waterfall or Shoulder Stand) : With the rush of Christmas preparations we need to take time out to relax. The best variation of this resting pose is when you rest your pelvis on a firm cushion or bolster, place your legs up the wall, arms out in line with your shoulders and place an eye cushion on your eyes. Then with calming music playing (such as these soothing meditation tracks) it’s really a treat.

4)Lion Pose: When under strain we may be on a very short wick and explode easily. This lion breath is a fun and non-destructive way to vent your pent-up emotions. Stand with bent legs, hands on knees for support, deep breath in and wide loud breath to exhale.

5) Brahmari Breathing: If your mind is restless and won’t quiet, spend some time humming. The combination of the long outward breath with the humming vibration activates the vagus nerve which soothes the nervous system and calms the mind. Place your thumbs to close your ears, and start humming softly, so the vibration can be felt and heard.

6) Child Pose: In this pose we curl up into a little ball and place our head on the floor. In this pose we feel safe and supported. Touching the head to the floor has a grounding affect to soothe the nerves. Both wide leg and closed knee options work well.

7) Nadi Shodhana: This is another great breathing practice for a restless, anxious mind. Do at least 12 rounds to get the full effect. Alternating the flow of breath in one nostril, out the other side, back in the same side repeat.

8) Mantra Breathing: Listen to the transcendental sound Gauranga as you say it on your long outward breath and then listen to it as your repeat it silently in your mind as you inhale. This meditation incorporates long soothing outward breaths and heart soothing transcendental sound.

9) Japa Meditation: Softly repeating mantras while touching beads helps to harness the mind and soothe the soul. If you dont have any beads, use the tips of your fingers, touching them lightly from one to another.

10) Kirtan Meditation: Singing or singing and dancing with mantras is uplifting. We are transported away from the pressures of our life and taken on a joyful journey of pure bliss. Yes, okay singing to Mariah Carey totally on the list as well :)

With thanks

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