Holidays are all about attending lunches and dinners, going shopping mall hopping for buying gifts, organizing travel plans, and of course, celebrating and recovering from party hangovers. If you’re married or in a relationship, you’ll most likely be working hard to maintain the balance between the two sides – your family and your in-laws, apart from catching up with close friends. The excitement and stress go up a level further if there’re kids involved. While this is the time to be merry, holidays can easily take a toll on your enjoyment of returning to the childhood days. And making all the activities happen within your budget simply adds up to your anxiety.
Moments of Reflection
Year-end holidays also act as a mirror to us – what we’ve accomplished this year, including the good and the bad ones. Then comes the New Year resolutions – what we’ll be doing to make our lives better in the coming year. During these times, when you’re trying to make different people happy, your mind moves in hundreds of different directions. As a result, it’s quite obvious to find yourself in a state of mental distress. Unless you are sending yourself loads of love and compassion, along with taking good care of yourself, handling this level of stress and spreading the holiday cheer all around would be almost an impossible task.
Here we’ve outlined 10 yoga poses that would give you a feeling of tranquility during your hectic holidays. These can be done anywhere, anytime and you can do them one by one according to your preference or in a short sequence. All you need to do is hold these poses for anywhere between 10 breaths and a couple of minutes. By performing these blissful calming poses, you’ll be able to come back to the present in a rejuvenated frame of mind and body, which in turn would let you join the festivities with a genuine smile in place.
#1: Mountain Pose (Tadasana)
It may look like you’re simply standing there but this active pose greatly helps you to stay calm and focus apart on improving your balance and posture. Stand with your feet together and the arms at your side. Evenly press your weight across the arches and balls of the feet. Grow taller as you breathe, making your chest rising and falling with it. Keep your arms facing forward to draw your awareness inward. Concentrate on the present moment, letting all concerns and worries fade away.
#2: Alternate Nostril Breathing (Nadi Shodhana)
This simple yet strong technique helps you settle the mind, body and racing thoughts, making you free of anxiety and stress. Take a tall and comfortable seat, making sure the spine is straight and the heart is open. Relax your left palm into your lap while bringing the right hand in front of your face. Cover left nostril with the middle finger of the right hand. Close your eyes and take a deep, slow breath in through the nose. Then release finger and cover the right nostril with the right thumb while exhaling through the left. Repeat 5-10 cycles of it, making your mind follow the breath.
#3: Seated Forward Fold (Paschimottanasana)
Sit up with your legs stretched out in front of you, keeping your spine erect and toes bent toward you. Raise both arms above the head and stretch up while breathing in. Flex forward from your hip joints while breathing out. Place your hands on the legs and try to take hold of the toes. Lift your head a little and lengthen the spine while breathing in. Gently move the navel toward your knees while breathing out. Repeat this for 2 or 3 times. This pose helps to release any stress and relax your muscles.
#4: Standing Forward Fold (Uttanasana)
This instant calming pose is widely believed to relieve fatigue and stress while rejuvenating your body as the blood flows upward to the head. Stand straight while resting your hands on the hips and inhale. Breathing out, gently soften the knees and flex forward while folding from the hips. Counterbalancing the body’s weight is crucial for this pose. So, you must move your tailbone and hips slightly back as you make rest of your body move forward.
#5: Eagle Pose (Garudasana)
This rejuvenating and empowering pose works the entire body, making blood flow across the body. This greatly aids to increase libido after a stressful day. Stand straight and bend the knees. Lift the left foot and cross it over your right one. Bring the arms forwards while placing them parallel to the floor. Cross your right arm over your left one and bend the elbows. Gently turn the hands to make the palms face each other. Stretch your fingers upward while pressing your palms together. Stay in this pose for a couple of breaths and release.
#6: Warrior II (Virabhadrasana II)
This powerful, standing pose increases concentration, stability, and strength. Stand tall, strong and settle into the pose. Stand with the feet hip-distance apart while keeping the arms at the sides. Breathing out, take the left foot back approximately 3 to 4 feet and keep it parallel to the floor. Line up the heel of the right foot with your left foot’s heel. Breathing in, extend the arms out alongside the body, lifting them parallel to the floor. Try to close the eyes, feeling the muscles working to keep you steady as your inner power takes over. Remain in the pose for 5 to 10 breaths.
#7: Reclined Hero (Supta Virasana)
This pose releases any stored tension in your hips. Apart from lowering stress and fatigue, this heart-opening and restorative pose increase flexibility in your spine by supporting the shoulder blades. Start with Virasana and kneel on the floor. Place your knees directly under the hips while resting the hands on your knees. Bring the knees closer to each other and press the top of your feet firmly on the floor. Lower the hips gently and let the toes point outwards and back. Pull in the navel and place the hands by your side. If you feel any pain in the knees, keep one of the legs straight and change halfway.
#8: Child’s Pose (Balasana)
This pose calms your mind, body, and spirit. It helps you steer clear of the troubles while you rest the forehead on the yoga mat, block or cushion. Begin with the Table pose, breathe out and lower your hips to the heels and your forehead to the floor. Breathe deeply and slowly, pressing your belly actively against the thighs as you inhale. Hold the pose for 4 to 12 breaths and release.
#9: Legs-Up-the-Wall (Viparita Karani)
This super calming posture for the nervous system is one of the easiest, most nourishing and grounding yoga poses. All you need to do is lie on your back with the sit bones comfortably closer to the wall. Then extend the legs up the wall to make them resting fully against it. You can use blocks under the hips to elevate them, creating a little inversion in the lower belly. Keep practicing this pose for a minimum of 10 to 15 minutes.
This relaxation pose might seem like a nap after your yoga practice, but it’s actually a completely conscious pose that makes you feel completely relaxed. While your body is willing to rest after performing the other poses, your mind may get in the way, resisting this deep relaxation. Savasana promotes your body to stay still and simply breathe, connecting you to a more peaceful state.
Food for Your Soul: Meditation
Meditation nourishes the universal values of peacefulness, responsibility, caring and sharing along with compassion. As humans, we have an innate tendency to search for joy that doesn’t diminish. Meditation helps to fulfill this need. Introduce meditation into all these poses as you start to slow down your breath and reach a comfortable position. Imagine a square in your mind and connect each line of it as you inhale or exhale. Gradually increase the size of squares to make your breath become even more slower.
As little as 20 minutes a day of practicing these poses can bring you to the desired place of absolute tranquility, boosting your inner strength to take on the holiday season with a calm mind, rejuvenated body, and full heart. Share this post with your family and friends to bring your mats together and travel the road toward harmony and peace together.