Yoga for Holiday Stress

The holidays can be filled with joy and too often, stress.

Will the big meal you planned turn out?

Will your relatives or in-laws get on your nerves?

One of the best ways to deal with stress is exercise, and experts say yoga can be especially helpful.

Breathing technique is essential to yoga. According to Carolyn Peters, yoga instructor, when you start feeling holiday stress stop and do five minutes of alternate nostril breathing.

"You simply shut one nostril and breathe three times in and out and switch. You are focusing on your breath, keeping it steady, smooth, equal," explains Peters.

When the turkey is not quite done or your mother-in-law criticizes your cooking, try a yoga posture called threading the needle to get rid of the tension in your neck.

"You'll take one arm, reach out. As you exhale, thread the hand through and place your heard on the floor, the ear on the floor. Reach out as you exhale, reach under, place your ear on the mat," says Peters.

The next stress busting yoga position is the sphinx pose.

"Come on to your forearms with your elbows underneath your shoulders, press it down to your palms and reach out through your feet as you press your feet down into the ground," explains Peters. “Try not to lift the chin up too far, tilt the chin down so the back of your neck stays long and open and after eight breaths come down."

Peters says if you find yourself a little overwhelmed over the holiday, try a twist.

"Think of yourself as rinsing from your center like a washcloth. Not only does the twists relax you but they improve your circulation. You're extending out through your fingertips with the palms down, so the shoulders stay rooted to the ground. And pay attention to your transitions, you're trying to calm your nervous system, so keep everything smooth and fluid as if you're swimming, swimming through water," says Peters.

A yoga class may be in your future. Until then Peters says these four simple exercises can help you make it through the holidays or any stressful time.

"It's very practical. You can do it anywhere, any time. You do not need props. Take a moment for yourself to calm down and re-center," says Peters.

The main benefit from yoga or meditation is that it allows you to take time to clear your mind.

By doing so, you will be more effective at completing all those holiday tasks.


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