These easy yoga poses for holiday stress relief are doable for total beginners. You can do them at home and they only take a couple of minutes. The best way to de-stress and relax during the holiday season.
Let’s be real. While Christmas is known as ” the most wonderful time of the year,” it is also a time when stress levels soar. Yearly, we find ourselves torn in different directions, trying to make everyone happy. Seeing the parents, the in-laws, your close friends, wrapping gifts, oh wait – buying gifts. Money seems to simply fly out of the window while work is piling up at the desk.
And that’s just the run-up to the emotional rollercoaster that is Christmas Eve and Day.
Be it granny, auntie, and cousins asking if you have met someone or facing the pleasure of introducing a new partner to the family. So much potential for stress and anxiety.
And what’s more, returning to the scene of your childhood during the holidays we often feel like we are reverting to our younger selves! Moodier, tense and more unstable than in our own home.
Now more than ever, it is important to make joy and self-care a priority. And what is our Nr.1 self-care tool? Yes, hot chocolate and red wine, I am also looking at you. But today we are trying some easy, gentle yoga for stress relief!
Kick Holiday Stress To The Curb with These Easy Yoga Poses for Holiday Stress Relief:
In addition to building lean muscle and improving our posture, yoga plays a huge part in stress reduction by reducing the body’s level of cortisol, which is the nasty stress hormone that is secreted by our adrenal glands during our bodies’ fight-or-flight responses.
You don’t have to be an experienced yogi to get the benefits as stated above. A simple series of yoga-inspired moves can help release so much muscle tension and calm the mind.
Here are 5 easy yoga poses for holiday stress relief and instant relaxation during the busiest season. You can do these anywhere (yes, also at your in-laws’ home), anytime.
Close your bedroom door, sit on your mat, and take some time for yourself to breathe and be grateful this holiday season.
You can do all of these positions as a short sequence or one by one, holding each pose for anywhere between 10 breaths and several minutes.
1. Lotus Pose
You might know this pose from meditation class. Holding your body still in lotus position helps restore energy levels, calms the brain, and increases awareness and attentiveness.
- Sit on your mat with your legs extended, spine straight, and arms resting at your sides.
- Bend your right knee and hug it to your chest. Bring your right ankle to the crease of your left hip so the sole of your right foot faces the sky. The top of your foot should rest on your hip crease.
- Now, bend your left knee. Cross your left ankle over the top of your right shin. The sole of your left foot should also face upwards.
- Draw your knees as close together as possible. Press your groin toward the floor and sit up straight.
- Rest your hands on your knees with your palms facing up. Create a circle with each index finger and thumb. Keep the rest of the fingers extended.
- Soften your face, smile a bit and bring your gaze to your “third eye,” the space between your eyebrows.
- Hold for up to one minute before releasing the pose by very slowly and gently extending both legs along the floor.
2. Child’s Pose
Child’s Pose, or Balasana, is ideal for relaxation! It’s a great pose to jump into when you’re feeling overwhelmed during the holiday preparations. It will help calm your mind and relieve tension in your lower back and neck.
- Come to your hands and knees on your mat.
- Spread your knees about as wide as your mat. Keep the tops of your feet on the floor with the big toes touching.
- Bring your belly to rest between your thighs and your forehead to the floor. Alternatively, turn your head to one side with your cheek resting on the floor. Switch to the other cheek about halfway through the duration of the pose.
- Either stretch your arms in front of you with the palms toward the floor or bring your arms back alongside your thighs with the palms facing upwards. Do whichever feels more comfortable. If you have tight shoulders, the second option might feel the most comfortable.
- Stay as long as you like, and focus on your breath.
- Bring attention to the rhythm of your breath. Feel your troubles melt away as you rest your forehead on the mat.
3. Tree Pose
Vrikasana, or Tree Pose, is an excellent pose for easing stress and anxiety because it requires grounding and concentration. It’s a constructive way to distract yourself while also giving your mind, and body, a challenge.
- Stand with your feet together, inner ankles and inner knees touching, with your arms hanging at your sides. Distribute your weight evenly across both feet.
- Shift your weight to your left foot. Bend your right knee, reach down and grab your right inner ankle. Draw your right foot alongside your inner left thigh. Do not rest your foot against your knee, only above or below it. Adjust your position so the center of your pelvis is directly over your left foot. Then, adjust your hips so your right hip and left hip are aligned.
- Rest your hands on your hips and lengthen your tailbone toward the floor. Press your palms together in prayer position at your chest, with your thumbs resting on your sternum.
- Fixate on an unmoving point in front of you.
- Press your right foot into your left thigh while pressing your thigh equally against your foot.
- Inhale as you extend your arms overhead, and reach your fingertips toward the sky. Rotate your palms inward to face each other. Take 5–10 deep breaths.
- To release, step back into Mountain Pose. Repeat for the opposite leg.
4. Seated Forward Bend
This calming forward bend helps to relieve stress and reduces fatigue. It stretches your spine, shoulders, and hamstrings and is also known to be therapeutic for high blood pressure and infertility.
Do not perform this pose if you have a back injury.
- Sit on the edge of a mat with your legs extended in front of you. Beginners can bend the knees lightly throughout the pose.
- Inhale as you reach your arms out to the side, and then up overhead, lengthening your spine.
- Bend forward from the hip joints and exhale. Do not bend at the waist. Lengthen the front of your torso. Imagine your torso coming to rest on your thighs, instead of tipping your nose toward your knees.
- Hold onto your shins, ankles, or feet — wherever your flexibility permits. Keep the front of your torso long; do not round your back. Let your belly touch your legs first, and then your chest. Your head and nose should touch your legs last.
- With each inhalation, lengthen the front torso a bit more. Fold a bit deeper every time you breathe out.
- Hold for up to one minute. To release the pose, draw your tailbone towards the floor as you inhale and lift the torso.
5. Cobra Pose
Bhujangasana, or Cobra Pose, is another great yoga pose for stress relief and anxiety management.
During this post, you will stretch the frontal plane of your body which also encourages the functioning of the abdominal organs, stimulates the gastrointestinal tract, and invigorates the kidneys. Perfect for improved digestion during those indulgent holidays.
- Lie on your stomach and place your forehead on the floor.
- You can have your feet together, or hip-width apart.
- Keep the tops of your feet pressing against the floor.
- Place your hands underneath your shoulders, keeping your elbows close to your body.
- Draw your shoulder blades back and down, and try to maintain this throughout the pose.
- Draw your pubic bone towards the floor to stabilize your lower back, and press your feet actively into the floor.
- With the next inhale, start lifting your head and chest off the floor. Be mindful of opening the chest, and do not place all of your weight onto your hands. Keep the elbows slightly bent and keep the back muscles working. Take your hands off from the floor for a moment to see what is a comfortable, maintainable height for you.
- Keep your shoulders relaxed.
- With exhale lower yourself back onto the ground.
- Take 2-3 rounds of inhaling yourself up into the cobra, and exhaling down to the floor. Then hold for 2-3 full breaths, and come back down. Rest on the floor for a few breaths, or enjoy Child’s pose as a gentle counterpose.
Relax, Recharge and Restore Your Mind and Body.
Let us all take a couple of minutes to breathe and just be. You’ll see how easy it will be to come back to your friends and family with a genuine smile firmly in place.
More stress-relief ideas:
- Self Care Ideas for a Happy Healthy You
- 5 Minute Meditation for Holiday Stress
- All about Lagom
- 5 Best Adaptogens for Anxiety and Stress Relief
Yoga for Stress Relief – More Information and Resources:
- DVD: Rodney Yee’s Yoga for Energy & Stress Relief
- Free Yoga Stress Relief Playlist on YouTube
- Free Yoga Video for Stress and Anxiety
- Yoga Detox – 8 poses to detox your body