As the famous song says, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year.” It can also be the most stressful time of the year! Today we look at a few simple ways to reduce stress levels during the holiday season… and all year long!
Gayle Zacharia is a yoga teacher (RYT-200 Yoga Alliance) and Reike certified practitioner. She suggests doing the following postures when tensions run high:
1. “Calm the body by doing a forward fold (uttanasana),” says Zacharia. Forward Folds are part of the following poses:
- Child’s Pose
- Seated Forward Fold
- Downward Facing Dog
“Stay in the pose for 10 nice deep belly breaths to calm the body and the mind,” Zacharia says. She also recommends Legs Up Wall pose, which is restorative and relaxing after a busy day.
2. “When we are feeling lethargic and lack the energy to get things done, invigorate the body by doing a back bend,” suggests Zacharia. Experience back bends/chest openers through the following poses.
- Interlace the fingers behind the back for a chest expansion
- Upward Facing Dog
“Lift the lungs up to the sky and breath! Feel the energy!”
Part of Zacharia’s training has included Yogafit for Warriors and Yogafit’s Addiction and Recovery. “The trainings showed us poses, breath work, and other techniques in dealing with trauma and PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).”
We can all use these techniques to fight stress. “One exercise that was helpful was Tapping (known as EFT, emotional freedom technique) to calm down the brain’s amygdala,” says Zacharia. It reduces “that ‘fight or flight’ anxious feeling we get when we are stressed.” To perform:
- Use your pointer and middle fingers together
- Tap gently for 1-2 seconds on top of the head, eyebrows, side of and under eyes, under the nose, chin, collarbones, and side of hands
“The tapping interrupts the stress signals and resets for a different response.”
Gift yourself the gift of relaxation this holiday season with these poses and stress reducing techniques!