December is officially here! And while this is usually a very exciting time of year, it can also be stressful and overwhelming for some. Between buying presents, making presents, attending holiday parties, baking cookies, fighting the crowds, all while trying to keep up with everyday responsibilities, things can start to seem a little less cheerful and a bit more exhausting.
That being said, this busy time of year is a great time to practice mindfulness and to visit your yoga practice amidst the chaos. Spending a few minutes each day coming back in tune with your body and mind might be the thing you need to keep the holiday blues at bay.
Here are a few of my favourite stress relieving poses when things start to feel overwhelming:
Child’s pose (Balasana):
The ultimate resting pose! Kneeling down and folding yourself towards the floor truly allows your body to relax and let go. Giving your back, neck and shoulders a nice stretch, child’s post targets the areas where we tend to hold a lot of stress. Visiting this pose for a couple minutes a day is an amazing way to find stillness and calm.
Any kind of twist, either standing, or seated gives your body the chance to wring out negativity and replenish itself. I find that twisting allows me to let go of things mentally, and make room for more positive thoughts. Try sitting in a crossed leg position and placing one hand on the opposite knee, the other hand behind you. Take a few breaths here, then switch to the other side. Notice how your body feels after a couple minutes.
Camel Pose (Ustrasana):
A wonderful heart opener. By kneeling on the floor and bending back, the heart is able to open towards the sky. Your throat becomes more open, allowing for deep, relaxing breaths. With an open heart, you can try and remember how far your kindness and compassion will go this time of year!
Standing Forward Fold (Uttanasana):
The passive standing forward bend. Let your arms hang loose, or grab on to your opposite elbows for a deeper stretch. In this pose, you can shake your head from side to side, and release all the tension in your neck. Allow yourself to breathe deeply and feel the stress slide off your back. Just doing this for a minute in the midst rushing around all day can be a great escape for your body and mind.
I hope these poses offer some relaxation and rejuvenation to your over-worked body and mind.
Let’s remember that the holidays are meant to be a time of fun and celebration. Take pleasure from the small things, like spending time with loved ones. The best present you give this year could just be your presence. Happy holidays everyone!
CAMILLE is a Masters Student at King’s College London pursuing a degree in international child studies. Her interest lies in the work with teenage girls, specifically in matters relating to self-esteem and body image.