5 Poses That Will Save Your Holiday: A simple sequence you can do in a fraction of the time it takes to cook a turkey (or tofurkey)

Supported Child’s Pose

How come?

Between trying to master our mother-in-law’s famous stuffing to getting our numbers up at work before the holiday rush, we are probably over stimulated. This has a serious impact our ability to manage stress and enjoy the holiday. In this pose, we can tune out and tune in by drawing our senses inward. Forward folds in yoga naturally stimulate the relaxation response in our nervous system giving us an instant re-boot. 

Strike A Pose

  • Find a yoga bolster or stack several blankets folded length-wise.
  •  From a kneeling position, fold over the bolster so that your entire torso feels supported.  The bolster or blankets should be high enough so that you do not feel discomfort in your joints in the pose.
  • Place your arms comfortably either behind your or gently in front with palms down.
  • Turn your head to one side to breathe easily.
  • Spend up to 5 minutes here, or 3 sets of 5 in and out breaths through the nose.

Heart Opener

How Come?

Sure, we know the point of Thanksgiving.  Reconnecting with the felt sense of gratitude can bring it home to our mind and body.  Gratitude naturally re-nourishes us, and helps us to remember what’s really important amongst the chaos of life.

Strike a Pose

  • Roll onto your back so that you are resting comfortably on your mat
  • Bend at the knees and place your feet on the floor
  • Extend your arms out to the sides at shoulder height
  • Raise your arms off the floor and toward the celling as you exhale until they are parallel
  • Slowly inhale as you lower your arms back to the floor  
  • Feel your back muscles draw together and your chest expand as your arms lower. Let your muscles help to move your arms.
  • Mentally connect this movement with the opening and closing of your heart center.
  • Finish by bringing your knees to your chest and wrapping your arms around your knees to draw them close to your body.  Feel the stretch in your back. 

Wide-legged, Standing Forward Fold with a Twist

How Come?

This is a full body pose helping us to tap into our strength and balance our mood through coordinated movement. Most of all, the gentle twists with breathing helps to prepare your digestive system for the incredible feast ahead!

 Strike a Pose

  • From standing, take a wide stance with your feet.  At least wider than your shoulder width
  • Mindfully bend from your hips.  Let your hands find the floor for support.  If reaching the floor is not possible, place your hands on a block or low table
  • Bend your knees if you need to relieve back stiffness
  • Slide your left hand so that it is just below you.  As you inhale, twist from your waist and raise your right arm towards the sky
  • Lower your arm back toward the floor with an exhale
  • Switch sides
  • Repeat up to 10 times each side
  • When completed, rest in this forward fold for as long as desired.  Feel the support and strength of your legs and imagine draining fatigue from your head and hands and into the earth.

Tree Pose

How Come?

Between balancing work and family, it’s easy to lose our center.  Here, we find alignment with our self so that we can be our best self with others. 

 Strike a Pose

  • Return to standing
  • Use the wall or a chair for support if needed
  • Mindfully engage your left leg and lift your right foot of the floor, placing it either at your calf or inner thigh
  • Engage your core muscles for added stability; relax the face and shoulders and breath naturally
  • Hold the pose.  Place your hands together near your heart to enhance the sense of centering or above the head to drawn in vitality
  • When ready, lower the foot to the floor and stand in Mountain Pose.  Take stock of how you feel and any shifts that may have occurred.  Repeat on the other side.

Legs Up the Wall

How Come?

You’ve been on your feet all day and if you let your self stop, you might just feel how tired you are.  This pose relieves pressure in the feet and draws blood flow downward to the head, clearing your mind of mental tension and leaving the body refreshed.  Feel instantly rested while old grudges dissipate.  As the natural calm takes effect, the mind experiences a change in perspective as one’s world is turned upside down.  

Strike a Pose

  • Slide your mat or blanket to the wall so its perpendicular
  • Sit next to the wall so that your right shoulder is near it
  • Gently rotate your body so that your legs slide up the wall as you lay down on your mat or blanket
  • Allow your arms to either rest by your side, above your head (for further heart opening) or on your belly for a deepened sense of relaxation
  • Rest here for up to 10 minutes
  • When completed, roll to one side and rest on that side for several moments before slowing retuning to a seating position
  • If you have high blood pressure, are pregnant or menstruating either skip this pose and repeat Supported Child’s Pose or place your legs at 90 degrees on a table or on yoga props.

 

**Resume Holiday festivities from a rested, calm, centered and uplifted place.