Jingle bells and mistletoe have arrived- but so has the added stress involved with the extra activity December brings. Winter holidays can be a busy time with all the parties, shopping, planning, and baking we want to do. Though this extra activity can be a fun thing, it can also lead to stress and sensory overload. This time of year is the perfect time to find tools to balance our minds, bodies, and spirits.
Yoga, meditation, and conscious breathing are lifesavers during times of stress. The health benefits are instant. Try it: next time you’re feeling stressed, stop and take my Five-Alive break. Find a quiet, comfortable space to sit. Inhale for a count of five, hold for a count of five, and exhale for a count of five, and hold once again for five. Repeat for five times.
Here are 3 more ways yoga, meditation, and breathing can bring calm over the holidays:
1. Do Viparita Karani
Aka legs-up-the-wall pose when you need a break. This pose helps to calm the sympathetic nervous system, the fight-or-flight system, and activates the parasympathetic nervous system, the rest-and-digest system. It also gives your heart a rest by pumping the blood from your lower body back to your heart with ease. Put on your favourite song and hang out upside-down for a bit. Bound to help you face a challenge with a proactive perspective.
2. Take it one step further and find a restorative yoga class.
Not only will you get to do poses like Viparita Karani but other supportive postures just like it. Restorative yoga uses various props, bolsters, blocks, and blankets, to help you relax in poses such as a twist and child’s pose. The benefits of restorative yoga come with long holds and deep breathing.
3. Find a quiet space and take two minutes or more of meditation at the start or end of your day.
Don’t forget to set a timer—this way you won’t wonder how much time has passed. Find a comfortable position and an even rhythm to your breath and soak in the silence. You can also silently repeat a mantra, like “let” on the inhale and “go” on the exhale, or a word you would like to cultivate in your day, like inhale/exhale “peace.” If you get carried away with thought, notice and bring your attention back to breath for the remaining period of time.
I hope you find these three tools helpful in dealing with the busyness of the holidays. Remember to take care of yourself first so that you are better equipped to take care of and love those around you.
Keep calm and carol on!
Lynette is the Saskatoon Community Coordinator for Power of Movement—a national event that raises money for arthritis and autoimmune disease research.
Facebook: Yoga With Lynette
Blog: My Creative Fling