Holidays are a wonderful time of year with friends and family, yet the hustle and bustle can leave you feeling anxious and depleted instead of joyful. Incorporating calming yoga can greatly reduce stress and make your festive season jollier.

Easy Pose (Sukhasana) with 3-Part Breath

This seated pose stretches and strengthens the back while allowing the lungs to open fully for mindful breathing. The 3-Part Breath can instantly calm the mind, reduce blood pressure and eliminate the effects of stress. The three parts of the breath initiate in the lower lungs, expanding the abdomen through the diaphragm, and finally lifting the chest. Clear your mind by focusing on slow deep breaths or on things that bring you gratitude and joy.

   Instructions:

  • Sit with your legs crossed in front.
  • Maintain a neutral pelvis without rolling forward or backward in the hips.
  • Lengthen through the spine, ensuring not to collapse in the ribcage or round the back.
  • If legs and back are tight or abdominals weakened, sit on a bolster or rolled up blanket to create additional ease in the body.
  • For the 3-Part Breath, place your left hand at your heart and right hand at your belly.
  • Inhale slowly feeling your belly expand into your hand. As the breath rolls up, the ribcage opens and the chest lifts into your other hand.
  • Initiate the exhale by contracting the diaphragm and expelling the breath completely.
  • Repeat this rhythmic deep breathing technique while sitting in Easy Pose for 1-5 minutes, or as long as you desire.

Legs Up The Wall Pose (Viparita Karani)
This restful posture aids with reversing blood flow and lymphatic drainage back to the heart. This pose can also promote a more restorative sleep.  Using a bolster or rolled up blanket as a prop is recommended.
Instructions:

  • Place the bolster or blanket next to the wall.
  • Lie on your back and position your tailbone on the edge of the bolster. Your hips will be slightly elevated while your back remains flat on the mat.
  • Extend your legs straight up the wall.
  • Relax arms alongside your body or extended to the side in a 90-degree angle.
  • Deepen your breath remaining in this posture for 1-5 minutes.By Kristi Grosse
    Registered Yoga Teacher
Advertisement on OTL Magazine