Sleigh bells are ringing, carolers are singing, and you’re probably stressing... While the holiday season is full of laughter and cheer, it can also be a super stressful time of the year. Enter: yoga moves for your holiday season. From making sure that everyone’s stockings are stuffed just right, to hosting holiday parties, eating yummy treats, and staying out way past your bedtime, one thing is for sure — our bodies are about to go into serious overdrive.
But hey, there’s nothing wrong with celebrating to the fullest! After all, life is all about balance, which is precisely why I want to offer you some ways to counteract all these upcoming hectic days.
“When we are tense and stressed out, we usually activate our sympathetic nervous system or ‘fight or flight’ stress response,” says Yoga2Life Coach and Fabletics Master Ashley Corlis. “Yoga, on the other hand, helps us activate our parasympathetic nervous system, or ‘rest and digest,’ which is our relaxation response.”
“A lot of times during the holidays, people are marking things off their to-do lists, planning, preparing and spending a lot of time ‘ahead’ of where they are at the moment,” Corlis says. “Take some time to really notice what you are doing right now. When we spend more time focusing on what we are doing in the moment, not only are we more productive because we are engaged in what we are doing, we are also less stressed because our energy is focused at a single object.”
So in the spirit of the season, Corlis gifted us with her top six yoga poses to help you through the holidays. Namaste!
1. Supta Baddha Konasana or Reclined Cobbler’s Pose
"This restorative pose helps open the hips as well as open the chest and shoulders," says Corlis. "Often times when we feel stressed, our shoulders feel tight because we are 'carrying the weight of the world.' This pose gives us time to unload all of the things we may be 'carrying.' This pose is also extremely helpful in aiding digestion."
2. Supine Twists
"When we are on the floor, we feel the most grounded," Corlis says. "Twists help open the back, relieve shoulder tension and help detoxify the body by gently ringing out the internal organs."
3. Balasana or Child’s Pose
"This pose is a great way to turn inward during the holiday season," suggests Corlis. "A lot of times we are overstimulated by so much 'doing' that we forget to just 'be.' In this pose, your head gets to rest on the floor and relax, and your gaze turns toward your heart. This pose is a great way to connect back to yourself."
4. Cat/Cow Pose
"These poses are great way to lengthen and stretch the spine," Corlis notes. "Especially after long hours of sitting or walking, the back can get stiff. This combo of poses will ease back soreness."
5. Adho Mukha Svanasana or Downward Facing Dog
"This pose is a great way to open and strengthen your shoulders and arms, lengthen your spine, strengthen your core and stretch your hamstrings," shes says. "It is also a mild inversion because your head is below your heart. Inversions have a pacifying quality and relax the nervous system."
6. Viparita Karani or Legs Up The Wall Pose
"This restorative inversion is very relaxing for the body and the mind," Corlis says. "Your feet and your legs get some much needed downtime and the blood actually gets to recirculate back to your vital organs for more functionality. This pose is great for helping to rid insomnia. This pose also gives you an opportunity to turn things upside down! A change of perspective is sometimes all we need to feel better and less stressed. If you do one pose everyday -- do this one!"
Simple as that. Get ready to de-stress and feel strong while doing it. Also, if you like my yogi look, head over to Fabletics to snag this outfit!
Images: Maggie Giuffrida