Does anyone else out there find the holidays stressful? If so, then perhaps it’s time to lean into your yoga toolbox for more support between now and the New Year. The following are some tips to reduce holiday stress with yoga.
I typically start my practice on the floor to meet the stable quality of the earth. Once I tune into the support below me, I focus on simple dynamic movements to improve circulation and get my body flowing. I engage my core to bring heat towards central organs so that they function their best during the cooler months.
To avoid the winter blues and reduce holiday stress with yoga, I’m suggesting asana and breathing practices six days a week. If possible, do them first thing in the morning before you go to work! During the day, take breaks and remember to move your body frequently (for example, every 30 minutes) to improve circulation. Basic yoga stretches and deep breaths can make a world of difference when you feel stressed out!
In addition to asana practice, I also believe that getting to bed early (before 10pm) and sleeping 8 hours can be helpful when you feel stressed out. Remember rest is an important part of any healthy ecosystem. From the perspective of your personal ecosystem, it helps your body and mind recover from the business of each day. The more you can simplify your daily and weekly schedules during this darker season, the more space you’ll have in the day for self-care. Then it will be easier to reduce holiday stress with yoga.
A Sequence To Reduce Holiday Stress With Yoga
Supported backbends can help you breathe more into your chest and lungs. Breathing MORE is a great way to decrease stress.
A lot of people hold their tension in the next and upper back. This sequence can be helpful to alleviate some of your neck or chest tightness.
Curl up’s are great because they help stretch the back of your neck (which might feel tight with stress), warms up the belly area and promotes better circulation down to the hips. Inviting energy to move down away from your head and into the hips can support overall circulation and flow, which usually isn’t happening when we’re stressed.
Balance poses are great for bringing your more fully into the present moment, away from thoughts of the past or future.
Dynamic sequences are great for promoting overall circulation and working stress out of your body.
This dynamic sequenced linked with your breath can help free up any stiffness in your mid-back, shoulders, and neck.
The belly area can get contracted and tight when we’re stressed. Practice this pose to squeeze out belly tightness.
I love sphinx pose to help relax my lower back and reset my pelvis if it feels off. If you tend to hold your tension in your lower back, try this poses for a few minutes to help reset your posture and invite deeper breathing into your back.
This time of year I find it necessary to practice a lot! It’s so easy to lose motivation, to sleep in, or feel depressed with decreasing amounts of sunlight (if that’s an issue for you) and extra holiday stress. I hope these tips and sequence will help you to reduce holiday stress with yoga. Please refer to the Art of Sequencing – Volume Two book for suggestions on what asanas and breathing practices are beneficial for the winter.
If you’ve lost the fire of your home practice or daily routines, try setting up a private session with a local teacher to help design program that inspires you. Getting support makes this whole journey more fun.
About The Author: Melina Meza
Melina Meza has been sharing her knowledge of Hatha Yoga, Ayurveda, and whole foods nutrition with yogis around the world for over 20 years. Melina pioneered Seasonal Vinyasa, an innovative multi-disciplined approach to well-being, and is the author of the Art of Sequencing books, creator of the Yoga for the Seasons – Fall Vinyasa DVD, and co-director of 8 Limbs Yoga Centers 200- and 500-Hour Teachers’ Training Program in Seattle, Washington.
Currently residing in Oakland California, Melina facilitates year-round yoga and Ayurveda workshops and leads retreats in extraordinary sanctuaries around the world. You can also find Melina’s unique offerings on the Yoga Anytime, Gaiamtv and YogaUOnline and practice with her from the comfort of your own home. Learn more about how to get in touch with Melina on her website.