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Stress Less for the Holidays with Yoga

Posted Nov 30 2010 3:34pm




Om for the Holidays

Feeling off balance is common, especially during the holidays. With all the pressure to shop, cook, spend and socialize it is easy to feel stretched beyond your limits. It can be difficult to enjoy the special times with friends and family and miss out on the true nature and genuine spirit of the holiday season when you’re feeling overwhelmed. Yoga is becoming a popular means of stress management and physical relaxation. By taking a yogic approach to the holidays you can find a sense of stability, nurture your own spirit, and create a happier family holiday.

If you have a regular yoga practice, you will appreciate moving and breathing to your favorite asana. For those of you who have never tried a yoga class, this is your time to experience this ancient system of mind, body and spirit connection.

When you find yourself thinking, “I don’t have time for yoga.” Think again, and carve out one hour a week just for you. By taking time to do yoga you will feel relaxed, yet invigorated and ready to face the commitments ahead.

This Holiday Season, give yourself the gift of health, well being, balance and more.

Tips to Finding Balance in the Holidays

• Live fully in the moment. Allow yourself to be fully present in with out looking ahead or mentally crossing off the ‘to do’s’

• Accept “what is”….Give up wanting what you don't already have and learn how to accept what you cannot change. During the holidays this yogic philosophy is especially important. Plans change, the ‘perfect’ gift can’t be found, cookies burn. If you are feeling overwhelmed try experimenting with this yogic affirmation: Breathe in and think to yourself, "What I have is enough." Breathe out and think, "What I am is enough." Breathe in and think, "What I do is enough." Breathe out and think, "What I've achieved is enough."

• Let go of attachments… You may have an idea of the perfect holiday visit or dinner with friends and family. Sometimes things may not go as you imagined. Let go and learn to look at all the planning the gifts and the love that went into the event. Release expectations and disappointments.

• Look at the calendar as a whole and try not over schedule. Accept invitations with joy and say no with love.

• Most importantly reclaim family time. Spend time together, quietly enjoying the spirit of the season.

10 Easy Chair Yoga Poses to do at Home or the Workplace to Help Reduce Stress during the Holidays and Everyday!

Move in and out of the poses on a breath and stay for 3-5 breaths.

Neck Rolls –drop your right ear to your right shoulder, left ear to left shoulder, chin to chest and then drop the head back. Stay in each pose for 3-5 breaths.

Extended Arms – Extend your arms in front of you, clasp the hands and extend the arms over head. Keep the shoulders away from the ears.

Wrist Stretch - Hold up one hand in front of you like you would when saying "stop." Interlace your fingers with your other hand and pull your fingers back gently to provide a stretch to your wrist. Relax your shoulders. Change the position of your hand so that your fingers point downward, and the back of your hand faces away from you. Take hold of the back of your hand with your other hand and pull gently toward you to stretch the back of your wrist. Repeat on the other side.

Eagle Arms - With your arms in front of you and forearms parallel to the floor, bring your right arm under your left, the backs of the hands can touch or the fronts of the hands. To deepen the pose, lift the arms a little higher and away from the body.

Modified Cow Face - Inhale and reach your right hand up and over the head touching the back of your left shoulder. Repeat on both sides.
Cat Cow - On the edge of your chair, Inhale and arch your back gazing up and opening through the chest and low back. Exhale round the spine and gaze toward the abdomen. Continue breathing and moving this way.

Seated Forward Bend - Sit at the edge of your chair, with feet hip width apart, on the inhale hinge from the hips and bend forward. Grab opposite elbow to opposite elbow, or let the fingertips rest on the floor.

Seated Twist - Sit on your chair with your right side against the back of the chair. Grab the back of the chair with both hands. On an inhale lengthen the spine and on the exhale begin twisting to the right. Twist first with the belly, chest, neck and finally the head. Repeat on the other side.

Hip Opener - Sit on the edge of your chair, cross the right ankle over the left knee, if this is difficult for your knees cross your ankles on the floor. Gently hinge from the hips bend and forward. Repeat on both sides.

Modified Down Dog - Stand behind the chair an arms length away. Hinge from the hips, with knees bent or straight, bend forward and rest your hands on the back of the chair in an L shape. Breathe deeply and stretch the entire backside of the body.

A diamond is just a piece of charcoal that handled stress exceptionally well." ~Unknown
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