4 Yoga Poses You Can Do Now To Relieve Holiday Stress

As the holiday season comes around the corner, along comes happy and fun times, but also stress and fatigue. Shopping at crowded malls, decorating the house, attending several parties, cooking special delicacies for the little ones of the family and other holiday activities can lead to a lot of stress.

Because of the holiday chaos, you tend to feel low, and before you regain your strength, the holidays are gone. You can avoid this with the help of yoga

Benefits of yoga in reducing stress:

Yoga has a very instrumental role in providing both physical and psychological relief. It helps to activate the parasympathetic nervous system which enables the body to feel more relaxed. 

Even though you have a busy schedule, spending about 15 to 20 minutes performing some of the most effective yoga moves will help re-center your body and mind. Yoga helps you fight stress and fatigue, while also rejuvenating you to help you enjoy the holidays to its fullest.

Please note: These poses may not be suitable for everyone – particularly if you have chronic shoulder or back problems.

1. Uttanasana 

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Also known as Forward Fold, Uttanasana is the best post for those who are burdened with stress and anxiety. This pose will stretch your neck and shoulder area, where most of us carry our stress.

  1. Stand in an upright position and breathe in.
  2. Upon exhaling bend your body forward with the waist being the hinge point.
  3. Try to extend your hands and reach the floor. (If you cannot touch the floor, place your hands on the back of your thighs or grasp the opposite elbows with your hands.)
  4. As the head, neck and upper torso relax in this pose, release all tension to the neck and try to stay totally relaxed.
  5. Close your eyes and breath 5 times.
  6. Repeat 5 times in a set.

2. Balasana

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Ideal for calming the brain, stretching the backbone, ankles, hips and thighs, Balasana or the child’s pose is one of the most restorative postures of yoga. It greatly helps to relieve stress and fatigue.

  1. Kneel down on the floor and touch the big toes together.
  2. Split the knees to the width of the hips and inhale deeply.
  3. Upon exhaling fold your body forward and let your forehead touch and rest on the ground.
  4. While doing so, let the abdomen rest on your thighs.
  5. With the palms facing upwards, place the backs of your hands on the floor, either side of your legs, fingers pointing the same direction as your toes.
  6. Try to pull the tailbone down and let the shoulder and neck be released towards the floor.
  7. Breathe deeply while you stay in this position for about 5 to 10 minutes.

3. Marjarasana and Bitilasana

depositphotos_11445319_m-2015 depositphotos_11445321_m-2015Also known as the cat pose and the cow pose respectively Marjaryasana and Bitilasana have a set of benefits for your mind and body. Marjarasana or the cat pose stretches the back along with the neck. The Bitilasana or the cow pose does the reverse. It stretches the front torso along with the neck. 

  1. Start with your hands and knees on the floor. 
  2. Your knees need to be right below your hips and the wrists little in front of the shoulders.
  3. Look at the floor while you inhale. The spine needs to be rounded towards the sky while keeping the shoulders and the knees at the same position. This is the cat pose.
  4. Tuck you’re your chin towards your chest and come back to neutral position while exhaling.
  5. While inhaling drop the belly down by lifting the sitting bones upwards. Lift your head and look at the forward direction. This is the cow pose.

As the spine gets warmed and stretched properly with these poses, they help in lowering levels of stress and anxiety in the body and mind. Along with this, the combination of these poses massage the spine and the digestive organs.

4. Setu Bandha Sarvangasana

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Setu Bandha Sarvanganasana or the Bridge pose helps in many ways. It calms the mind, stretches the spine, neck and chest, rejuvenates tired legs and reduces several other conditions like anxiety, fatigue, headache and stress as well as mild depression.

  1. Lie on your back, arms by your side, and bend the knees. 
  2. With the feet about hip width apart pull back your feet as close as possible to the sitting bones.
  3. Upon inhaling, press the arms and feet on the floor and lift the hips up.
  4. Clasp your hands together under your back while pressing the shoulders onto the floor just like you are pressing the arms and the feet.
  5. Try to pull the pelvis up towards the sky while stretching your arms towards your feet.
  6. Breathe for five times before exhaling down.
  7. Repeat three times in a set.

Apart from these four moves, there are many other moves of yoga that I have learnt during my yoga teacher training in India. These moves are wonderful to be practised during the holidays to stop them from dampening your holiday spirits.

Valerie Brusamarello

Yoga Teacher at Siddhi Yoga
Valerie completed her yoga teacher training at Siddhi Yoga. She enjoys finding new depths to her yoga practice, hiking in Colorado, and walking her dog, Rita. Val continues to spread her love for yoga around the world.

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