Yes, it's the holidays again. 'Tis the season for overspending, over-pleasing, over-baking, overeating, and worst of all, over-stressing! For many of us, we're often ready for it all to be over before it even starts.
But before you dive into that pumpkin pie to ease your stress, try these four yoga moves designed to help target and alleviate your holiday woes.
Mountain Pose (Tadasana)
There's a lot of rushing around with seemingly endless to-do lists this time of year. Mountain Pose reminds us of the power in allowing ourselves to just be.
In a state of being still, there is no stress, anxiety or worries.
To begin, stand with your big toes touching and your heels slightly apart. Lift and spread your toes wide and release them down to the ground. Root yourself through all four corners of your feet and engage your thighs to lift your kneecaps.
Lengthen your tailbone down toward the floor and tuck your tailbone slightly. Move your shoulders down away from the ears, broadening the collarbones and engage the arms by your sides with your palms facing forward.
Relax your face and bring your chin parallel to the floor as you extend through the crown of your head.
Feel calm, strong and grounded in this pose as you hold for 5 to 10 breaths.
To prevent a freak-out moment as you stand in line during the ever-daunting Black Friday, try closing your eyes and taking a deep breath. Think about all the things you are grateful for. Visualize all the great people in your life, the food in your pantry, the clothes in your closet, the breath flowing in and out of your lungs, and the blood nourishing your organs as you inhale and exhale slowly, with intention.
Practicing a calming gratitude meditation for just a few minutes, can turn just about anything into a positive, uplifting experience.
If you find yourself stuck in holiday traffic or dealing with a difficult family member, find a quiet, private place and try some breathing exercises.
Lion's Breath is so great because it only takes a moment of your time and the residual effects are long-lasting. Take a big inhale through your nose, stick out your tongue as far as you can (think Gene Simmons from Kiss), and exhale the breath forcibly out the mouth with a "HA" sound. Envision that nasty holiday stress exiting your body, never to return again.
Tree pose (Vrikasana) requires some balance. But the good thing about balancing is it forces you to be present. When you're present in the moment, you aren't thinking about all the things that cause you stress.
Sometimes all we need is a little break, to make all the difference in determining our happiness during these stressful times. The best part about Tree Pose is you can pretty much do it anywhere — grocery store, mall, airport, etc.).
From Mountain Pose, shift your weight onto one foot, then lift the sole of the other foot to your inner thigh, or rest it just below the knee. Bring your hands to prayer at your heart's center, or reach arms straight up.
Maintain your balance by keeping an active standing leg, and stacking the structure of your body from heel to knee to hip, rather than relying solely on the strength of your foot muscles.