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How Yoga Helps with Self-Care During the Holidays

Posted on December 03 2018

Yogi in the Snow.

It’s that time of year again! Lights hang from the trees, snow is on the ground, and the smell of gingerbread fills the air – the holidays are officially in full swing! While the holidays are often noted as “the most wonderful time of the year”, they can also be the most stressful time of year. Between juggling endless to-do lists, decorating, hosting gatherings, family, events, and your job, it can definitely be overwhelming. That’s why it’s so important to keep up with your yoga practice, especially during this time of year. Here’s how your practice helps with self-care during the holiday season:

 

 1.  Keeps You Centered and Present

With the stress of the holidays, its especially important to come back to the present moment every so often, concentrate on your breath, and let everything else go. We’re often so concerned about what is happening next (what you’re having for dinner, what you’re going to wear for your next family gathering, how many things you have left on your to-do list, etc.) that we often forget to just enjoy the present moment of the right here and now. You can always use the tools you learn in yoga to keep you present and centered – breath, meditation, calm – and bring it off your mat in order to make the most of your holiday season!

 

 2.  Improves Sleep

Are work deadlines keeping you up at night? Maybe money is tight, or maybe you’re worried about your in-laws staying with you for a week, and suddenly you’re having trouble sleeping at night.  Research has shown that yoga can help with improving sleep as well as fighting insomnia. When you get in a yoga practice during the day, your body is often tired by bedtime.  Yoga can also help calm your anxiety, relax, relieve tight muscles, and therefore get you ready for a great night’s sleep!

 

3.  Increases Energy & Health

It’s no secret that yoga can help with managing your weight, gaining muscle, and increasing your energy levels. During a time of the year where there is an abundance of sweet treats, pie, and high-calorie dense food at every meal, it’s important to keep your body healthy by being mindful of what you consume. When you practice and feel good about your body, you want to take care of it. Yoga helps us be more in tune with our bodies, and allow us to eat more consciously, and know when to stop or say no once you’re full.

 

4.  Cultivates Breath and Creates Mind-Body Connection

Yoga helps us stay centered by focusing on our mind-body connection. Breath in yoga is just as important, if not more important than the physical postures. Most of us don’t really focus on our breath during the day, and yet it plays such a vital role in our lives. Yoga teaches us to breathe through our most difficult postures, and the same concept can be applied off your mat. When things get overwhelming or stressful in your daily life, allow yourself to come back to your breath. You can do hard things and handle stressful situations.

 

5.   Take time for you

We live in a world full of distractions. Between our phones, computers, TVs, radios, kindles, and other electronic devices, we are constantly looking at screens and communicating with others. The holidays especially are a time when everyone else’s happiness seems to be a priority. Yoga is that one time of the day where you are there to take care of you! For many people, yoga is one of the only hours a day where you can truly escape the outside world and really be present, even if just for an hour. Allow yourself that opportunity to enjoy some self-care time. You deserve it!

 

Here are three poses to help with self-care:

Supta Dandasana (Reclined Staff Pose)

Supta Dandasana (Reclined Staff Pose)

Benefits:  Many people use this pose as a sleeping aid because it helps in blood circulation. Shown here with legs in the air, it can also be done with legs against a wall.

How it's done:

  • Lay flat on the floor, face to the ceiling
  • Raise both legs straight up, pushing your heels to the ceiling
  • Toes should be pointed to you
  • Hands resting at your sides
Agnistambhasna (Fire Log Pose)

Agnistambhasna (Fire Log Pose)

Benefits: This pose opens your hips with gravity, letting you release into the stretch.

How it's done:

  • Begin in a sitting position.
  • Bend your left leg in and turn it out, laying the outside of your leg on the floor with your left foot outside of your right hip.
  • Slide your right leg on top of your left. If it’s available to you, bring your right leg across so that your foot rests on your left knee. 
  • Place your hands at or behind your hips with fingertips on the floor.
  • If you are able, lengthen your front body and place your hands out ahead of you. Without rounding your back, fold forward.
  • Hold for 3-5 minutes, then release and repeat with the other leg on top. 
Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose)

Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose)

Benefits: This is a very nice stretch for the chest, neck, and spine.  It also stretches the thighs.  It works the glutes and shoulders. 

How it's done:

  • Start in a seated position with your back straight, and your knees bent with feet hip-width apart. 
  • Slowly lean back until your back is on the floor. Your hands are placed palm down at your sides. 
  • Move your feet closer to your hips so you can almost reach them with your fingertips (about an inch away)
  • Lift your hip high.
  • Move your hands under your body, clasp hands together. 
  • Lift your chin so it is parallel to the ground
  • Lift your chest

 

 



 AUTHOR BIO

Stephanie is a yoga instructor and lifestyle blogger from Chicago! Yoga has impacted her life in so many ways, and she loves having the opportunity to teach and share her practice with others. She hopes to encourage and inspire other people to follow their dreams and find new levels of possibility in their minds and bodies, by bringing their practice off their mat and into their lives! You can find her blog at www.XoStephMorgan.com

 

Instagram: www.Instagram.com/XoStephMorgan

Facebook: www.Facebook.com/XoStephMorgan

Twitter: www.Twitter.com/XoStephMorgan

 

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